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Tales from the dump: A wintry tale of mystery and intrigue

This is a winter tale. One of mystery and intrigue.

This is a winter tale. One of mystery and intrigue.

Long time ago, I lived at Beautiful Downtown Northlands Trailer Park. That was my nickname for the place because in those days Northlands felt like a little village. One that was Isolated and stuck in the bush. its only neighbour, was ironically the jail. The crowbar hotel was on one side of the road and on the other side was us. It was a little odd.

I used my kitchen table, as my office. So, I spent a lot of time sitting there working. Lucky, this gave me a window to look out of because I need the distraction. I could look out to give my eyes a break, to check on the weather and to make sure the world was still out there. If I can’t be outside, I at least want to see outside.

It was early winter, and we had received a few dustings of snow. Then, I recall it was the day we got our first snowfall. Mid afternoon, a car pulled into the driveway of an empty trailer across the street. A lanky middle-aged man got out. He carried a couple bags into the trailer, turned on the lights and just like that had moved in. I don’t know whether he had bought the place or rented it, but hopefully the trailer was somewhat furnished.

The snow tapered off and that evening around nine or ten, he was out shovelling. He shovelled the driveway, put the snow into a wheelbarrow, then moved it to the front corner of his lot. There, mostly, on the road right of way, he put it into a pile. Then he did the same thing with his front and side yards. This was a little peculiar because most people don’t shovel their yards. I thought, well maybe he plans to move in a utility or boat trailer and is removing the snow to make it a little easier. But no boat or trailer ever arrived.

Maybe his name was Frosty, columnist Walt Humphries writes of the mysterious snow grump of Northlands. Photo courtesy of Walt Humphries
Maybe his name was Frosty, columnist Walt Humphries writes of the mysterious snow grump of Northlands. Photo courtesy of Walt Humphries

The second or third time I saw him out there shovelling, curiosity got the better of me. I took the dog for a walk and tried to engage him in conversation. After saying hi and getting no real response other then a stare, I said “I see you like to keep your yard clean.” He then glared at me, and I do mean glared. He mumbled that he hated snow. The glare also told me he didn’t like talking to people, so I moseyed on. It wasn’t just me he didn’t like; he was surly, taciturn and curt to anyone who tried to talk to him.

He really did keep to himself. He worked nine to five, five days a week. Probably at a government job of some sort. He was either at work or inside his trailer. That seemed to be the extent of his life. But every time it snowed; he was out there shovelling. Its true, lots of people shovelled snow. Either clearing their driveway or banking their trailers to keep their floors warm and avoid freezing up. But no one else shoveled their yard. Every time it snowed it was the same thing. Before or after work he would be out there. Shovel, shovel, shovel, and heap, heap, heap, until his yard was clean.

The snow pile turned into a mound, then a hill. He just kept heaving the snow higher. The neighbourhood kids made part of it into a snow fort and would create snow slides. If he was home and saw kids on the pile he would often yell “Get off my snow!”

To the other tenants in the park, he became known as the grouchy snowman. So of course, someone struck a snowman on top of the pile. He was certainly a bit of a mystery and his obsession with piling snow was all a little weird. But like most villages the residents had a tolerant streak to individuality.

Then in the spring, when the big melt started, and we had received our last snowfall, he just disappeared one day. He left as quietly as he had come. It was as if he had just melted away. Maybe he lived with a curse and had to move to where the snow was falling now. Or maybe, his name was Frosty. Happy Yule Tide, one and all.