Couple evicted after disagreement with landlord when he clears the snow from the driveway before the stairs

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I witnessed firsthand; used with permission.

Spring has sprung, and the threat of snow seems to be gone for another year at least in my neck of the woods. We had a mild winter. I'm thankful for that. Snow was enjoyable during my childhood when it frequently meant taking the day off from school and building snowmen. As an adult, snowfall is much less fun.

Snow is pretty when it's falling. Unfortunately, once the snow stops falling, the work begins. The amount of labor required to clean up the snow so people can go about their business is exhausting.

When I was a kid, we had a huge snowstorm. The driveway, walkway, and stairs of my parents' house were impassable, but one of their tenants wanted to go to the laundromat.

My father got to work cleaning the path to the driveway before shoveling out the entire driveway by hand. His work was impeccable; he even sprinkled a liberal amount of rock salt on the driveway to ensure the woman could walk safely to the street, which wasn't plowed. Fortunately, the street wasn't my father's responsibility.

He was proud of his work and let the tenant know she could safely exit the yard via the shoveled and salted driveway.

"Why didn't you clean the front walkway and stairs first?" she asked him.

"I cleared the largest and safest path leading to the street," he replied. "I'll get to the rest later. Just walk down the driveway."

But the tenant was stubborn. She didn't want to walk down the driveway, not because it wasn't safe or too far. "The driveway is for cars," she told my father. "I am not a car. I am a person. I want to walk down the front stairs."

"I cleared the driveway for you as soon as you told me you needed to go to the laundromat," my father told her. "Just use the driveway for now. By the time you get back from the laundry, I'll have the stairs ready for you."

The woman went back inside with a huff and waited for her husband to return from work. When her husband came home from work, she sent him to "discuss" the snowy situation with my father.

The man asked my father why he couldn't have started by clearing the steps instead of clearing the driveway, and my father replied that the driveway as well as the path to the driveway were completely safe and clear.

"If you were worried about it, then maybe you should have shoveled the front stairs for your wife before you left for work," my father told him. "I've fulfilled my responsibility by providing a safe clear path to the street, and I already told her I'll get to the stairs next. I don't know what else your wife wants."

Shouting ensued.

What the man didn't realize was that my father always gets the last word. My father evicted the couple on the spot. "I don't want you living in my house anymore," he told them.

They moved out with less arguing than they had put into the driveway versus stairway dispute.

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Ordained Minister, Universal Life Church

Massachusetts State

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