Grandpa's Little Angel

Grandpa's Angel

Last night around midnight, I'm just about to knock off and hit the sack. Snow is falling hard and heavy, the wind is howling, and I can see drifts two or three feet across the driveway already. Hell of a night.

I go around the house making sure all is buttoned up, and through the front window I see the lights of a vehicle out on the corner, some 60 or 70 yards from the house. Look a little closer and there's somebody working to shovel it out of a drift.

Put my boots and coat on to check out what's up, all the while Susan is sleepily saying, "You're not going out there, are you?"

Well, of course I am. You're a ranger, somebody's in trouble, you go out. A reflex like that doesn't just shut off when you turn in your gear.

Wondering what kind of idiot is out in this weather, I trudge out and find it's the local cops in the department's lone four-wheel-drive. They have to be out... though it was not a good move to attempt this particular road tonight. I look at the two of them, and their ages put together probably don't match mine. I think of all those eager young rangers I supervised all those years, and the hot water they sometimes got into because they were trying too hard. Hell, it's not like I never got myself stuck in the days I had more energy than sense.

First thought is to pull them out with my truck, but I can't even get out of my own driveway in 4-wheel low. Plan B, I fire up my snow blower and hump it out to the scene. They're shovelling, I'm plowing, and after fifteen minutes or so, the rig is free and each one of us is a six-foot icicle.

The cops hit the road, where they'll be working till 0300, and I head inside to warm up, thinking how nice it is to be retired.

Mary greets me at the door, dancing with excitement, running in circles. The other three dogs don't even wake up.

"She's been like that ever since you went out," Susan calls from the bedroom. "She didn't like you being out in the storm."

I give the little girl a hug, and she settles down on her favorite bed as I change out of my wet clothes. In minutes, she's sound asleep.

Grandpa's guardian angel, all right.


Next: "Getting To Know You," Doggy-Style