BURLINGTON – Despite the chilly temperatures dropping below -20 F with the wind, a crowd of neighborhood onlookers were out early Monday morning to see the match-up between a local teenager and her neighbors’ snow blower. Jane Henry, a 17-year-old BHS student, has been shoveling her neighbor’s driveways and sidewalks for years, but had recently complained about the number of snow blowers taking away her business.
“She would go out there with her shovel, ready to work hard,” says Henry’s mother, “but lately it seems like most of the driveways had already been done with snow blowers. Jane hated that, not only because it cost her income, but because she thought she could do a better job. So today she set out to prove that she was right.”
Henry posted flyers around the neighborhood, challenging anyone with a snow blower to a sort of snow clearing duel, in which she claimed to be able to finish more quickly, and with better results. A common complaint of Henry’s is that a machine will not get that last layer of ice or frozen snow the same way a shovel will. After a few days of posting, Henry had herself a challenger. Ian O. Greenbrier accepted her invitation and they determined to have it out after the next significant snowfall, which was decided to be a snowfall of more than three inches.
“Ironically, I think she only won because there was too much snow,” said one neighborhood onlooker. “We got almost two feet, and Ian’s snow blower wasn’t tall enough. He had to actually shovel the top off first in order to start his machine. So he struggled to begin, while Jane Henry was a shoveling machine herself. I’ve never seen the snow fly so fast! She’s definitely got my business, if she ever recovers.”
Jane Henry finished her work and fell, with her shovel in her hand, as the last scoop of snow flew through the air, and was taken to the UVM Medical Center to be treated for dehydration and exhaustion. Ian O. Greenbrier accepted his defeat graciously, although he still plans to use his snow blower in the future, as he says it is preferable to a hospital stay.
Bibens Ace Hardware has offered to donate a free snow blower to the Henry family, which they have accepted. “No, Jane’s not going to like this,” her mother admitted, “but until she recovers, who’s going to clear our driveway?”