McGregor Says: Getting ready for the season

People who panicked about lack of road salt are the same ones who try to buy fans in August, says our columnist

I had to stop as the large flat deck truck pulled slowly off Production Way on to Fraser Highway, taking up all the lanes in the process.

As I pulled beside him I noticed that from the ‘headache rack’ to the tail lights, the trailer was loaded with pallets on which hundreds of 10kg containers of Sifto Salt were piled, six high.

I was surprised there weren’t two grizzled old cowboys with shotguns sitting atop the load.

We’ve seen it before, a hastily made ‘Detour sign’ directs the truck off the highway on to a rural road. The driver rounds the corner to find a fir tree blocking his way.

As he stops, disgruntled Brookswood residents drop from the trees and disable the guards while the rest pillage the load, throwing pails of salt into SUVs, sedans and pickup trucks. Later, the guards will describe them as ‘crazed.’

If we can believe the weatherman — and, I don’t know why we wouldn’t — by the time you are reading this, it is warmer and raining and most of the ice and snow is gone.

We all got caught because the storm came on New Year’s Eve. Nobody had to go anywhere for two days, workers were off, and we all expected the weather to turn to rain and slush and wash away like it usually does, but it froze.

Mother Nature obviously does not pay attention to stat holidays.

Then, when we went to get salt to melt it, they were out. One hardware employee told me that he has noticed that the folks coming in for salt in January are the same ones that get annoyed because there are no fans in August. This month, the salt supplies will be replenished and nobody will rush to buy it.

We’re good shovelers in our neighbourhood.

The driveways get cleaned as soon as the snow stops and we keep on top of it.

Often we gather at the end of the driveways, take a breather, lean on our shovels and discuss snowplows, assessments, politics or other things we have absolutely no control over, and it becomes an event.

With four boys in the house, my Dad never came home from work to a snow-covered driveway. Nobody told us to go out and shovel, it was understood.

Even when his heart and hips slowed him down, we did our driveway then went over and did his.

Most times we were rewarded with hot coffee and muffins or cookies just out of the oven. It never seemed like work, although he did have a home-made plywood shovel that had to be screwed back together at least twice.

In the olden days, you could drive through Langley City after a snowfall and honk and wave at Tony Slogar, shoveling in front of the Arcade Barber Shop, Aksel Ebbesson in front of the 5 to Dollar and Laurie King in front of Arnold and Quigley.

Sure, there was a bylaw, but they did that for their customers, their neighbours and their employees. Nobody had to threaten them with a fine.

The trouble is, when we live in the land of milk and honey, when we awake in the morning we want milk and honey and nothing less, especially if we have to do a bit of work for it.

Buy salt in August and fans in January and you’ll be set for the year.

At least that’s what McGregor says.