It's snowing, and money's falling

(Breck Smither/associated Press)
  Enlarge Photo    
By Rachel Michaud
Friday, February 5, 2010

"Money's falling," Dad says as he comes in the door from his job as a typewriter repairman. It's snowing. He changes into warm clothes and then goes out to check the plow on his truck and put gas in the snowblower. When he comes back in, he eats supper with one eye on the sky outside the kitchen window. He goes to sleep right afterward so he can wake up in the middle of the night to start plowing rich people's driveways and the parking lot of the Elm Theatre.

My sister Donna and I don't argue about whose turn it is to wash the supper dishes because we don't want to wake the sleeping bear in our parents' downstairs bedroom.

"Do you think we'll have a snow day tomorrow, Mom?" asks Gary, my younger brother.

"Yes. Rachel, don't stay up late reading. Go to bed early."

It is still dark when my father shakes me, cold seeming to radiate from his outside clothes. He touches my shoulder, not wanting to wake my sister in the twin bed.

"I'm awake. I'm awake," I say.

He leaves, and I go to the bathroom, where I put on layers of clothes, nothing good that will get dirty or torn. I walk downstairs and head out to his truck.

"Did you eat something?" he asks.

"I'm not hungry."

"We'll stop later."

I like the sky at dawn, but I like my warm bed better. My sisters and brothers, all eight, will sleep for hours. Six to eight inches have fallen, and snow is still falling, making the world quiet. No school today.

My father and I drive to first one job, then another. My part is to shovel the steps, around the doors. My job is to keep him company.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company