There was snow piled high in the streets; covered everything; cars, trucks, tricycles, concrete blocks in the yard, old remnants of Autumn, were burried in the white fluff with crystals on top. Old Men speaking Polish stood in driveways with shovels and cases of beer, wearing sweatshirts and workpants with boots laced-up, as fumes from the steel mills pushed into the sky.
First, a group of them would dig out Ms. Yablamowitz driveway. She would be grateful and feed the men later on with sauer kraut and sausages, some potato filled pierogis, and more beer. Then the crew would remove the heavy powder by Zimski’s garage out into the street. There was no pay expected; they’d lost their little boy earlier that summer and were still grieving. Stosh and the boys figured it was their honor. Then, when the sidewalks were cleared, they’d all have an Old Style and eat braunsweiger sandwiches on rye with thick slices of onion; congratulating each other on a job well done.
Later on that evening it was back to the mills, all of them laughing having slept off the afternoon beers. And, Stosh was grateful to live where he lived. Seeing his friends and family seven days a week at the mill, the home, church. There was always a toast. Here’s to Northwest Indiana. Nostrovia.