I’ve always liked winter. Cold weather is invigorating; you want to do things, in and out of the home.
Growing up, in Brooklyn, I never had to shovel snow or worry about ice on our walk. My father would take sister, brother, and me sledding in Prospect Park and I would ice-skate in Central Park with my friends.
When Jerry and I were first married, we lived in a small apartment (eventually with two children). Most wintry Sundays we would get in our car and take a ride, with ice skates in tow. We would find a frozen pond and my two sons and I would skate. Jerry did not have skates and never skated, but he would get on the ice to help our two young sons. When there was snow on the ground, we would go sledding in Prospect Park.
A Good Samaritan took pity on our exhausted author, Janice Rosen, as she shoveled snow.
One year, for Jerry’s birthday we bought Jerry ice skates, so that we could all skate together. Believe it or not, the first time Jerry got on the ice with his new skates, he did a figure 8. Well, anyone who knows Jerry knows that anything he does, he does very well.
When Jerry and I and our two children (and one on the way) moved into our home in Teaneck I still enjoyed the winters. Our home has a fireplace, and we enjoyed building a fire almost every day. In time, we even bought a backyard ice-skating rink. (It looked like an oval swimming pool, only much lower.) By this time we had four sons. When it would freeze, we enjoyed skating, and when we got cold, we would come into the house for some hot chocolate and sit by the fireplace. We also skated at Votee Park and went sledding there.
When it snowed, we would make snowmen and forts and did the shoveling.
After clearing our grounds our sons would shovel for our neighbors and friends.
Fast forward, my sons are grown and have their own families and their own homes to take care of and walks to shovel. So when it snows I don’t ask them to come over to shovel for us. They know I never minded shoveling; I always said it is good exercise. But these days I enjoy the snow more sitting in my kitchen, looking out our big bay window, and saying to Jerry, "It’s so beautiful."
Two weeks ago, when we had an icy snowfall, Jerry and I went out to shovel. It was not easy, as it was mostly ice. Jerry has a bad back, so I did not let him shovel too much. I continued, with an ice chopper and a shovel. At one point, I just gave up. I was about to call my children for help, when an "angel" arrived a high school student. The young man said, "Can I help you?" I asked what he would charge to clear my walk, and he said, "I just want to help you." (At this point I would have paid him anything he asked.) It was hard to believe that this teenager, not knowing me, just wanted to be helpful, out of the goodness of his heart. Jonathan and I chopped and shoveled side by side, he doing most of the work, since I was exhausted. When he finished, I offered to pay him, but he refused to take the money. I made a donation in his name to Jewish National Fund, thanking him for the much-needed help.
We always read about the bad things young people do, and hardly ever about youngsters like Jonathan who do mitzvahs. So I want to thank Jonathan Fuchs publicly. Every time it snows I will think of the "angel" who just happened to drive by my home and stopped to help me.