From the Back Nine: The Case of the Missing Shovels

  • Wednesday, March 6, 2019 1:30am
  • Opinion

It started last year during the only snow that amounted to much. I cleared our walks, then leaned the snow shovel against the side of the house. A couple hours later, it was gone. How mean-spirited is that, the theft of an old lady’s shovel? Might as well filch my cane or tote bag of prescriptions.

But wait … maybe someone just borrowed it. Of course.

If so, they never returned it. Fast forward to this snow storm. I was prepared in advance. I purchased a fancy new shovel. One with a non-splinter handle, a sharp-edged scoop with upturned edges for pushing or lifting. An engineering marvel. Next I found both of my gloves. I was ready.

The snow fell. And fell. And fell.

I shoveled a narrow path down the drive to the street so Newspaper Guy could deliver. Now, I know what you’re thinking, but I did NOT lean my prize shovel against the house. I hid it between the fence and the hot tub.

The next morning, it was gone. Gone!

Thus begins my “for want of a nail” saga. A hundred feet of driveway, and all I had was a dustpan or, as a friend suggested, a cookie sheet. Right. We were snowed in for many a day. Missed doctor appointments, missed meetings, odd food combos by day three. Well, you know.

This shovel was not merely seen from the street. It took ingenuity and bravado for someone to grapple through eight feet of driveway snow, creep around the fence, ferret my Precious from behind the hot tub. I am quite sure I am being stalked by a yeti I will call Shovel Head.

Some days later, as rain began to fall, my new neighbor was shoveling her walk. I explained what had happened, and she let me borrow her extra shovel.

Extra shovel?

She claims she and the Mister recently moved from the kind of climes where they have two-fisted shovel-wielders.

O r… is she Shovel Head? Seems like a nice woman to me, but you never know these days. Maybe she has a basement full of shovels. Maybe loaning me one was actually her cry for help: Stop me before I scoop again.

Or was it those sledding tots who stopped by and offered to shovel for an amount greater than my annual income? Yeah, maybe them. After all, two shovels make usury much easier than one.

Ah well. In time, the snow melted, Swain’s was back in stock, and I came home with another shovel. It is not the masterpiece of the one that was stolen. It is very plain and does not look appealing enough for anyone to covet, much less purloin.

Nevertheless, it has a home inside the house should you happen to stop by next summer and wonder why a snow shovel is in my foyer.

And, I suppose, it is nice to know where both of my gloves are so, all in all, my story has a happy-ish ending. And this snowy escapade will live on in history as a ‘“cold case.”

Linda B. Myers is a founding member of Olympic Peninsula Authors and author of the PI Bear Jacobs mystery series. Her novels are available in print or ebook format at Contact her at or

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