It has been snowing on and off for the past couple of days in Vancouver. I was reminded of the time when I first came to Canada at the tender age of 16, and seeing snow for the first time in my life. I had broken my ankle in PE class, had surgery, and stayed in the hospital for 4 days. They day they discharged me, it snowed. When my parents pushed my wheelchair out to the hospital entrance, and I saw the snow flakes coming down, I squealed with excitement!
Eventually I learned snow is not all about fun. It’s back-breaking work to shovel snow off the sidewalk outside the house. Besides, I was in a cast, walking around with crutches. Shoveling snow is nearly impossible under that condition. A neighbor told me I could also put salt on the sidewalk to keep it from icing over. I took the salt shaker from our kitchen, went outside, and started sprinkling our table salt over the sidewalk. That didn’t work very well, and I quickly ran out of salt.
As I was contemplating what to do about our sidewalk, a lightbulb went off in my head! Ah ha! If I needed to keep the sidewalk from freezing over, all I needed is a bucket of hot water to pour over the snow, right? The hot water will melt the snow, and my work will be done in 30 seconds.
So I brought out a bucket of hot water, poured it over our sidewalk, and the snow quickly melted away. 2 or 3 buckets later, our sidewalk was all cleared of snow. I was quite proud of myself for accomplishing the task so efficiently. I wondered why these Canadians never figured out the short cut.
The next day, I came out of the house, seeing that the sidewalk was still completely clear of snow, I was patting myself on the back. I mounted my crutches, and took a step onto the cleared sidewalk, and BAM! I slipped and fell on my behind, and crutches went flying. Needless to say, the sidewalk had turned into a skating rink with a nice, clear sheet of ice, thanks to my genius idea of pouring hot water all over it.
It’s been 19 years since the hot water incident. I have finally built up the courage to share this story with someone.