From the Editor’s Files: What’s in a snow shovel – part 2


By Paul Rhodes, publisher and editor

Last week I told you about my recent experiences with snow shovels, and how I had settled on a brand-spanking-new grain shovel as my snow shovel of choice in the middle of the two recent blizzards.
With this week’s weather, it’s hard to believe I was focusing on snow shovels just two weeks ago, but I sure was.
I survived the first blizzard with the too-well-worn snow shovel that I had in my garage. It was your standard-issue snow shovel – lightweight, with a flimsy aluminum scoop and a harder strip of metal riveted to the blade of the shovel.
By this season, that snow shovel was a has-been. Last year, that tempered metal edge came loose from the shovel blade, leaving me with just the flimsy aluminum scoop to scrape along the concrete and bite into the snow.
The workload with that old shovel was almost too much for me. As the second snowstorm approached, I was determined to get a better snow shovel to dig myself out for the second time in as many weeks.
Many years ago, I had decided to purchase a grain scoop, rather than a snow shovel, for the sidewalk in front of my office. That was nearly 30 years ago, and that “snow shovel” is still in service at the office. In fact, it hardly looks used.
I ended up with a snow shovel (grain scoop) that set me back about 50 bucks.
Sure, you pay a little more for a tool like a grain scoop (okay, a lot more), but I figure that at age 65, that grain scoop will out-live me…and then some. In other words, between the office and at home, I’ll never buy another snow shovel for the rest of my life.
I put that new shovel to the test two weeks ago, and it proved to be a champ. Hell, it made me look like a champ.
Just this past weekend Kim and I were out shopping at estate sales, and in the basement at one of the sales was a young hipster gal who had a grain shovel in her hands. I smiled and nodded acknowledgement, so she immediately felt comfortable asking me a question.
“Are these expensive?” she asked. I told her I had spent 50 bucks recently on a new one, and her eyes lit up. She was about to pay two bucks for her shovel.
“By the way,” I added, “that will make a great snow shovel. It’ll never wear out.” This time her eyes lit up even more.
At that point I couldn’t help myself as I noticed the gnarly edge on her well-worn grain scoop.
“And if you know someone with a bench grinder, you can knock all those rough edges off the blade and it’ll be like a brand-new shovel,” I said.
By now, this gal was attached to her shovel like a new love interest. I saw her again at the checkout line, where she couldn’t have been happier to shell the money for her $2 treasure.
And I felt like I had shelled out a little wisdom that morning.