Snow Sweepers
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“Snow Sweepers,” Friend, Mar. 2000, 40

Fiction:

Snow Sweepers

Fellowship one with another, and … rejoice (Hel. 6:3).

Andrea looked out the window into the late-winter afternoon. It had stopped snowing, leaving another inch of white powdery stuff dusting the sidewalks and driveway. She knew that it was cold—it had been all week. Her homework was finally finished, and she reached for her new library book.

“Andrea,” her mother called, “Would you please sweep the snow off the driveway and sidewalks before it gets dark? I have to get dinner ready, or Daddy won’t have time to eat before he has to leave again for his meetings at the church. He’ll be home in a little over an hour.”

Andrea sighed as she set the book on her nightstand. She’d been looking forward to reading it all day, and it seemed like she’d only just warmed up from walking home from the bus stop. It didn’t seem fair that she was always cleaning off the walks, but she knew how tired Mom was with the new baby, and how busy Dad was since he had been called to be a counselor in the bishopric.

“I’m coming,” she called as she pulled on her snowsuit and boots. She found a dry hat and gloves and went out through the garage, picking up the old broom her mom kept there.

At least it didn’t snow as much today as it did yesterday, she thought, remembering how long it had taken her to shovel the eight inches of heavy, wet snow off the driveway the day before. Her fingers had felt like ice cubes by the time she was finished.

It was almost fun sweeping the snow today. It was light and fluffy, and it looked like the world had been sprinkled with powdered sugar—just like her mother’s brownies. Before she knew it, the driveway and walk in front of the house were cleared. But Mrs. Walker’s sidewalks next door were still covered with snow, so Andrea kept on sweeping. The widow’s arthritis would keep her from doing the job herself, and Andrea’s dad wouldn’t have time to do it. Besides, he’d shoveled Mrs. Walker’s snow last night before family home evening. She had just finished sweeping the sloping sidewalk, when she saw Kaitlyn come out of her house on the corner and start sweeping her own sidewalk.

Kaitlyn had moved into the neighborhood the past weekend. Andrea had met her at the bus stop, but they were in different grades, so Andrea hadn’t really had much chance to get to know her yet. Andrea had been praying for a long time that a member of the Church would move into the neighborhood—sometimes it was really hard being the only Latter-day Saint at school. She did have lots of friends, but her closest friends were her friends at Primary, and she usually only saw them on Sundays or at branch activities.

Kaitlyn wasn’t a member of the Church, but Andrea called out anyway, “Hey, Kaitlyn. Do you want some help with your snow?” In less than a minute she was down at Kaitlyn’s house, sweeping. Before long, that was clear, too.

“We sure do make a good team, Andrea,” Kaitlyn said. “See how good it looks! Why haven’t the other people swept their walks yet?”

“Almost everyone in the neighborhood works in the city and won’t be home until after dark. Nobody else on our block has kids. Remember?—we’re the only ones at our bus stop.”

“Oh, that’s right. Hey—let’s see how many walks we can clean before it gets dark. Do you think we can make it all the way down the block?”

“I don’t know,” Andrea answered, “but let’s try.”

The two girls hurried down the street, one sweeping to the left, and the other to the right, the light snow flying off the walks and driveways. The orange-red sun peeked out from behind the clouds as it sank toward the mountain across the lake. Soon the Labascos’ driveway was cleared, then Mr. Zadlock’s was done. Mrs. Fischer’s was next, and then the Romanos’.

Mrs. Keem drove in just as they were finishing her driveway. “Why, thank you, girls! How thoughtful you are. Would you like to come in for some cocoa?”

“Not today, thank you,” Kaitlyn said. “We still have more work to do.” The girls waved good-bye, then swept on down the street.

“We’re more than halfway done!” exclaimed Andrea as they began Dr. Randazzo’s walk, on the other side of the street. The snow was literally flying off the walks and driveways of the Changs, the Petrenkos, Miss Smith, the Porters, the Daniels. The sun was sinking behind the hill as they started on the Kelshaws’, the last house on the block. Just as they finished, Andrea’s dad drove down the street.

“We did it!” shouted Kaitlyn. “What a team!”

“That was so much fun,” laughed Andrea. “But now I’m cold and starved. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Kaitlyn’s going to be a great friend, Andrea thought as she walked into the kitchen fragrant with fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Maybe she’ll even come to Primary with me if I ask her to. I think the quarterly activity is coming up soon.

Illustrated by Mark Robison