With the extreme cold weather this winter, I often find myself thinking about one winter many years ago while working at my grandparents' jewelry store. Grandpa decided that we must clean the windows so the customers could continue to look inside and see the glitter and beauty of the jewelry on display.
"It was a bitter, cold, winter day while we were working at The Store. The Store was located on a very busy street, and as traffic went by in the winter, especially buses or trucks, the snow, slush, salt, and general yuck would spray up onto the storefront windows. Ol’ Man Winter certainly won on this day and trying to look through the windows was pointless. Grandpa got the idea that we’d just have to find a way to clean the windows to continue to attract customers. Grandma tried to dissuade him, because she knew he’d be hard-pressed to successfully complete this task. But, did this stop Grandpa? No. He’s not anything if not determined. What started out to be his idea, turned out to be our job, but he assured me he had a fool-proof plan. Looking back at it, it was a very fool-ish plan.
Grandpa decided he would first fill up a bucket with extremely hot water, rationalizing this would counteract the freezing temperatures outdoors. Then he and I would bundle up, go outside with both hot water and squeegee in hand, quickly wash the windows, and once again be able to see inside The Store. Shortly after the plan was discussed, we carried it out like clockwork. Grandpa filled the bucket, we put on our coats and gloves, I grabbed the squeegee, and off we went. We got outside and the real beauty of the plan was not the plan itself but actually in the implementation of it. As we got to the large picture window in front Grandpa said he was going to count to three, throw the hot water on the glass and then I was to squeegee it off immediately, not leaving any time to freeze on contact. We got in our ready position and nothing could stop us … sort of.
“One, two, three—” Grandpa threw the water, I lifted the squeegee and voila our job was finished in a flash, for the water instantly turned into ice making a pretty pattern over the whole window like an ice cube being twisted out of its tray. We could do nothing but laugh, and laugh we did. We took a last look at our handiwork which was quite beautiful actually and quickly went back inside. Grandma didn’t say “I told you so,” but we obviously should have listened to her. Because of our little ice-capades, the customers certainly weren’t going to see the merchandise through the front window for a long time to come."
Excerpt from My Hero, My Ding
© 2010 Lisa A. Tortorello - My Hero, My Ding