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Snow sets stakes high for student

By MARK WARNER
DCN Correspondent

It is December in Duluth. It’s early on a Friday evening, but pitch black nonetheless. The first significant snow of the season falls, blanketing the Central Hillside with a quilt of fresh powder. Oddly enough, while most are indoors or at least out and about enjoying the start of a new weekend, Donovan Boucher, a freshman at Lake Superior College, is shoveling his front walk as the snow still falls.

“I know this probably looks goofy,? he says with a smirk, “but it’s the cheap way out.?

Cheap? So the prospect of a snowy driveway come morning is now an expense?

“Well, using snow just beats buying ice… for a party,? he finally explains.

Despite the reward awaiting the completion of his task, Boucher does not enjoy moving snow. He has been at it for about 20 minutes, plodding along, filling tubs with fallen flakes. After a bit, he rubs his fingers. His outer extremities are now feeling the effects of overexposure.

“Wish I’d brought some gloves out here. This is pretty lame,? he says.

Lame indeed. Hypothermia aside, little has gone right for Boucher so far on this night. A lost bet forced him into the cold, a fact his “pal? Jonathan Blair will not let Boucher forget as he watches on.

“We were just playing some Madden, and he suggested adding some stakes. I’m glad he did,? Blair laughs. “That blue shovel works great with his outfit.?

At least it works with something, for it definitely seems to be a shovel built for looks, not performance. Cheap plastic is less than ideal for activities involving lifting or scraping. Time after time, Boucher approaches his tub pushing a heaping load of powder only to have his shovel bend and distribute the snow all over what used to be a clean step.

Finally, Boucher conquers the flimsy shovel. Carrying snow works better with this substandard gear than pushing it. Boucher will not be in the cold much longer.

After nearly a half hour of work, Boucher has beaten the weather. The driveway is clean and the snowfall has lessened.

Unfortunately for Boucher and his housemates, Mother Nature is not on their side tonight. During the rest of the night and weekend, nearly four inches of snow will fall. Someone will have to repeat this work all over again tomorrow.

After all of tonight’s work, Boucher has learned his lesson.

“I just wish I could make that bet over again,? he admits. “Next time I’m going be the Patriots.?