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Ray Duckler: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow



Last modified: Tuesday, February 10, 2015
The latest forecast calls for more snow Thursday, and you know what I say?

Snow what? If you can take it, snow can I.

That’s my new outlook, after seeing the enthusiasm at the Super Bowl parade during a deep freeze in Boston last week, and following that up with the local warmth I discovered yesterday while driving around with Monitor photo editor Geoff Forester.

We searched for a winter column, and we found one, everywhere we went.

Sure, the latest storm caused some headaches. I had to clean off my car again before work and before my first cup of coffee, and that, I admit, made me grouchy.

A mail truck I saw fishtailed in a parking lot in the South End. A New Hampshire Lottery van we passed on Interstate 393 had done an about-face 180 during the lunch hour. A waitress at a local restaurant told us she’d had four customers during a four-hour span.

But the spirit was there. You just had to look for it.

Take the folks at Blue Seal, for instance. There, in the front lobby, I met store manager Chris Marston and his staff, Ann LaCroix and Thaurin Paradis.

LaCroix, a retired middle school science teacher, has worked at Blue Seal seasonally for 35 years, and when you combine that fact with a name like Thaurin Paradis, pronounced paradise, you feel, well, warm.

Marston taught me how to fight back against winter, how to make this time of year easier to handle. He showed me the Bull, a shovel that doubles as a weapon of mass destruction, one so powerful and sturdy it could chisel a Titanic-sinking iceberg down to size.

Outside on the loading dock, Steve Goodnow, who began working at Blue Seal nearly 40 years ago, explained to me the differences in snow-melting material.

Did you know that different variations of calcium chloride can melt ice in sub-zero temperatures? Or another substance is less harmful to the environment than others, and still another is less likely to grab the bottom of your shoes when you go back in the house?

And then there was Amanda Bernier, who we met near KFC, as she walked home from a friend’s house. She wore a fur-lined hood and a smile.

“I take three dogs for a walk six times a day,” she told me.

Yes, New Englanders are a hearty bunch, and that includes the community connected with Shaker Road School, an independent school in Concord.

The show went on yesterday, as scheduled. The parents drive their children to school. One teacher even drove there from her home in Auburn. “We’re gritty,” said Patti Hicks, one of the school’s owners.

The warmth and determination continued at Krazy Kids in Pembroke, where children bounced in bouncy houses, slid down slides, ate pizza, did cartwheels and chased each other.

Do you think yesterday’s snow stopped Shantel Harmon of Concord and her father-in-law, Ken Harmon, from bringing their family there?

Are you krazy?

We had Shantel’s three kids, Zeke, 3, who ate pizza; Benjamin, 5, who ate and wore pizza; and Zoey, 8, who moved around like a waterbug. We also had Shantel’s nephew, 7-year-old Brogan, and her 10-year-old niece, Kayla.

“They’re all getting their energy out,” Shantel said. “This is a good place for that.”

Ken Harmon, the grandfather to all five, was visiting from Vancouver, Wash., and, yes, he’s a Seattle Seahawks fan. Former season-ticket holder, in fact.

He praised Pats fans, saying, “They’re very loyal and they treated me very well here.” He grew a bit more critical when addressing local reaction to Tom Brady and Bill Belichick after the Patriots’ 2-2 start, saying, “Everyone here was ready to run the two key guys out of town. People are a bit temperamental and spoiled.”

As for our snow, Ken, fresh from a morning of sledding, said, “There’s so much to do here.”

Donna Killion of Concord brought her grandchildren, 8-year-old Ryan and Jake, 10, to Krazy Kids. They call Killion “Buddy.”

They live in Rumney and visited Buddy over the weekend. They were forced to stay an extra day because of yesterday’s storm.

Tough break.

“They love it here,” Killion told me. “They play forever.”

Actually, when you’re a kid and it snows, does the fun ever end?

Nope.

Before Krazy Kids, Buddy took Ryan and Jake snowshoeing, then sledding. She even revealed to me their secret sledding area, near a water tank outside Winant Park. “I shouldn’t tell you that,” Buddy told me. “But go ahead; you can use it.”

The three soon left for home and a mac-and-cheese lunch. Another sled run was scheduled for later in the day. I asked Buddy what book she’d been reading while the kids played.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom.

Perfect, I thought.



(Ray Duckler can be reached at 369-3304 or rduckler@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @rayduckler.)