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The snow angel who warmed my heart this winter

Jane Bavoso of Massapequa Park with Nick Vinberg,

Jane Bavoso of Massapequa Park with Nick Vinberg, who was her ray of sunshine during some snowy winters. Credit: Jane Bavoso

Considering the weather we endured this past February, snow angels had become very popular. Erin Colton of News 12 invited people she met along the way during her television coverage of the many snowstorms to join her in making snow angels.

I haven't made a snow angel in many years and this year I was much more interested in trying to get my walk shoveled and cleared of snow than frolicking in it.

However, I discovered that snow angels come in many forms.

About two years ago I was thrilled when two young boys knocked on my door after a storm and asked if I would like them to shovel. I inquired about the price and their answer was "whatever you think is fair."

They did a phenomenal job and I told them to please come back if we got another storm. And back they came. They were like my knights in shining armor, except they weren't wearing metal breastplates and helmets or carrying lances — they wore ski jackets and hats and carried shovels.

Last year, I lost one shoveler, but the other came faithfully. Every snowstorm, Nick showed up. He cleaned off my car, made sure the driveway was clear so I could back out easily and threw ice melt down so I wouldn't slip. And each time, I paid him what I thought was fair. At the end of last season he gave me his cell number, just in case I needed him.

There was no doubt this winter that I certainly did need him. I never called him and he never knocked on my door. Nick just showed up and started working.

This year he advanced to a snowblower, but the shovel also came out, cleaning off my steps and under my car.

The very first light snow we had came on a Saturday, and I was getting prepared to shovel it myself, since I knew it wasn't very heavy. When I opened my front door, the shoveling had already been done.

I found Nick's cell number and gave him a call. Yes, he told me, he had shoveled. But no payment was necessary — consider it his gift to me!

When the school winter break came, and we got more snow, I managed to shovel myself, assuming Nick was away with his family.

That weekend we had sleet and everything froze. Sunday morning, I was outside trying to chop the ice when I looked up and saw Nick coming up the street, shovel in hand. He had been snowboarding in Pennsylvania on his week off but was here again; he got to work and cleared my steps and walk of ice.

Sometimes we adults are guilty of lumping everyone together and shaking our heads in despair, regarding the upcoming generation. Most times we only hear about the kids in trouble. The good kids, the kind kids, the hardworking kids get swept under the rug.

Nick told me he is the youngest of four, plays lacrosse on his high school team and is going off to college in the fall.

Kudos to his parents for raising such an industrious, respectful and kind son. So many times, after he had refused payment, I had to push money into Nick's hand.

I will definitely miss my real live snow angel next winter, but I am confident that with his attitude and outlook on life, he will do well in whatever field he chooses.

And I also feel blessed that I was so very fortunate to have had the privilege of meeting one of the good kids.

Jane Bavoso,
Massapequa Park

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