|Taber streets blessed with snow angels|
|Local Content - Local News|
|Written by Stan Ashbee|
|Wednesday, 13 February 2013 18:03|
Often, when an individual ponders the term “snow angel” the person imagines a child bundled up in snow gear laying in freshly fallen snow with arms out fluttering, as an angel impression is left in the snow underneath the child. Snow fall in Taber, is at times in the bucketfuls, and difficulties arise when older residents attempt to clear paths and sidewalks at their homes with some no longer capable of completing the task. Shoveling snow seems to never end in southern Alberta during long cold winters.
It’s the Snow Angels to the rescue! The superheros of snow, masters of the shovel and/or snow removal blade and the snowplow kings (a la Mr. Plow Homer Simpson), otherwise known as concerned citizens willing to lend a hand to neighbours and friends.
“Whether it’s a shovel, a scoop or a blade. Some people are older and they have sore backs and arthritis so one of the guys comes in and he’ll use a hand-held snow remover or a quad or a snow blower, anything that moves snow,” said Ken Bullock, a Snow Angel for the past five years since retirement.
“I bet you there’s 70 Snow Angels. Just about every area has a quad or a snow blower and they’ll help their neighbours. This is what it’s all about, being neighbourly. Doing favours for people that have health issues or what not,” added Bullock.
According to Bullock, it was years ago, when his legs didn’t work quite so well and one day he was watching TV and recalled hearing people scraping outside so he went to the window and what did he see, neighbours from each side of him with snow scoops, shoveling.
Bullock noted he has an 80 foot driveway, a double drive, so he said he went out the door and told his neighbours not to bother with the snow but his neighbours graciously declined and continued to shovel the snow around his humble abode.
Bullock said when his wife came home he said to her “When I retire I’m going to buy a quad and a snow blade and I’m going to help the neighbours with cleaning their driveways.”
And that was that. Nowadays, on snowy days, as soon as Bullock’s neighbours head off to work he gets to work clearing driveways and sidewalks.
Many communities are catching on to the ‘pay it forward’ attitude of the often anonymous Snow Angel initiative initiated by helpful neighbours. Bullock said at first neighbours didn’t recognize him, as he was covered in winter gear from head to toe, but neighbours eventually found out. Now, once in a while, he will stop in and chit chat with neighbours while coming in for a bit from the cold, and neighbourhood kids wave when they seem him out clearing snow. Many neighbours are very thankful for the work he has done. “We get phone messages all the time saying ‘Thanks very much’,” said Bullock. “People will send over homemade buns, hot and real fresh. Some people send over a box of chocolates and Christmas cards saying thank you. Popcorn balls, stuff you don’t ordinarily have in your house. We never ever ask for anything but people just show their appreciation.”
Bullock also told the tale of a local, perhaps mythical, snow clearing legend in the community of Grassy Lake. A mysterious and allusive Snow Angel?
“I’ve heard that Grassy Lake has a guy that has a snow mobile and he put a blade on the front of it and he clears sidewalks in Grassy Lake. I’ve never seen him so it could be B.S.,” joked Bullock.
In the past, Bullock was a Taber fire chief and was with the Taber fire department for 23 years. He worked for Triwell as a backhoe operator and drove truck hauling potatoes over the years, as well. Bullock also has a fleet of award-winning parade and show toys built as a hobby from retired ride-on lawn mowers and quads. Many young drivers have paraded Bullock’s custom built toys throughout southern Alberta, eastern British Columbia, Montana and Idaho over the past 18 years.
The fleet includes a miniature fire truck, helicopter, space shuttle and more. Bullock has also equipped his snow-removing quad with a custom built home-made designed blade which is capable of backblading snow.
“A guy buys a quad and can only use it for two months a year and hauls it out of town and goes and plays in somebody’s field, but if you could put that quad to use by helping your neighbour, why not?” asked Bullock.
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