Mystery of the Snow Elf

Mystery of the Snow Elf

Sounds like the title of a book, doesn’t it? Maybe the latest installment in the Hardy Boys series.  Or perhaps some tepid animated “classic” that goes straight to video.

Twice within the last nine days, Kathy and I have returned in the afternoon to find the sight pictured above- a snow-plowed or snowblower-blown driveway.   The trouble is- or should I say the ‘mystery’ – is that our own snow-blower hasn’t worked all winter long.

So who the heck is snow-blowing our driveway?   We first suspected our neighbor Jeff, who is a very nice person and someone who might conceivably do such a thing – although he’s never done so before. The first time it happened, I was sure it was him because our two driveways were the only two snow-blown at that moment in time – and it looked an awful lot like the same machine had done it.  But this last time, over the weekend,  our driveway was the ONLY driveway on the block to be snow-blown. . . and Jeff may be nice but I can’t quite imagine that he would come over and snow-blow our driveway while leaving his own covered with snow.  Kathy thought it might be the dad of one of her students at Schulte who lives a couple of blocks away from us.  The two of them joked around about the joys of snow blowing- but she has asked him and he insists that it wasn’t him.  I have my suspicions that it was him and he likes having a veil of mystery shrouding his good and generous deeds – but Kathy says he’s no actor and she really doesn’t think it’s him.

So there it is.  Someone has anonymously done a good deed on our behalf- and not once but twice.  It’s wonderful but also a bit bewildering, and it’s also such a strange sensation to not know where to direct our gratitude.  But now I know how an announcer at WGTD felt about almost 20 years ago when I did a little favor for her.  She was a single mom and lamenting the fact that there was probably not going to be any money for Christmas presents that year for her three kids – which made me so sad.  A couple of days later I slipped a $50 Wal-Mart gift certificate into her mailbox.  (I hadn’t yet come to realize the evils of Wal-Mart or I would have chosen  a different store.) I signed the note “a friend.”  She came to me a day or two later when she got to the studio, and asked me with a coy smile if I was “her friend.”  I managed to look completely mystified at her question and before I even had to sputter out some sort of white lie, she said “never mind.”  So I’m pretty sure she didn’t think it was me- (I suspect that she was lamenting her wretched financial state to most of the people at the station.)  But I’ve sometimes wondered since if she would have enjoyed the gesture even more if she had known who to thank.  Be that as it may,  it was really fun to do that; it made a really big difference for her, I’m sure, and it was completely painless for me.   And it was a very good demonstration of how sweet it is to do a surprise good deed for someone without any expectation or desire for anything in return.

The visit of the Phantom Snow Elf has reminded me of that and made me wonder what new deeds need doing, in order to “pay forward” this random act of kindness done for us.