MY BACK IS aching from shoveling snow off my deck, steps and roof. My whole body is aching from pushing a snowblower up and down my driveway. I did it all last week.

All that, despite putting out a generous employment offer to anyone who would listen. At least I thought it was not just generous, but a downright fantastic offer.

The job description included the afore mentioned steps, deck, roof and driveway. The compensation included not only $1 per hour, but all the Gatorade one could drink while working, with a most generous bonus of a snifter or two of Crown Royal when the job was completed.

Not one taker, not even a nibble, unless you count the joker in Arizona who said he’d do it for the offered compensation if it could be held off until May. Oh, and there was one other person who did offer his services if I upped my ante to a full decanter of Crown, an offer I immediately refused. No job, no matter how well done, unless it’s a job I’m doing, is worth that kind of compensation.

So, I took my aching legs, crippled old back, neuritis, arthritis, bursitis and nagging bunions, all 72 years worth of them, and did the job myself.

After all that, my lovely wife even denied me a well-earned dollop of medicinal Crown. No, instead that mean woman made me stir up 27 batches of Christmas cookies she was going to bake.

Having all this snow to shovel and blow this early has been rather foreign to those of us who live in the “Great White North of Wisconsin” during recent years.

I have already groomed Razorback ski trails three times this year, after not having been able to groom and set track a single time until well into January last year.

It was a different story this year. Come to think of it, snow and what we have to do with it is different every year. Shoveling it, especially, brings back many memories of snowy winters in the past.

I won’t lie, there were occasional years of lighter than normal snowfall during my growing up time in this part of the country, but more often than not, we had plenty of snow by Christmas and enough to bury a good-sized dump truck by February.

More than once, before Santa made an entrance Christmas Eve, I was deployed to the roof of our house with a shovel in my hand, with 18 inches or more of snow to move.

One year, home over semester break during my first year in college, I and some cohorts shoveled the steep roof of Molgaard’s supper club in St. Germain for, you guessed it, $1 an hour for each of us.

We used a ladder to reach the roof, but after shoveling 30 inches or more of snow off most of the roof, close to 4 feet of snow where it collected in the roofline valleys, we had to step up off the backside of the building and slide down to the ground.

Another year, the day of the Super Bowl, a bunch of us with young families got together at the Fricke household on Lost Lake. While the guys watched the game, a slug of young kids from about 3 to 10 in age spent the afternoon riding toboggans, saucers and even big pieces of cardboard from the top of the roof down to the ground and almost to the edge of Lost Lake on the bobsled-type run Bill Fricke had packed from the rooftop to the lake.

Then, there was the Christmas day a couple of years after my wife and I got married. Home from college at Eau Claire, I decided a late-morning rabbit hunt would be in order. While my wife and mother worked on getting dinner ready to serve at 2 p.m., I hiked down Razorback Road a short distance to an unplowed Muskellunge Lake Road.

From there, through fresh, knee-deep snow, I plowed my way a half-mile, until I cut into the woods across a hardwood flat before slogging partly around and partly through a spruce swamp until I reached the west side of Rice Lake.

Apparently, the snowshoe hares in that neck of the woods had more good sense than I. While I perspired and nearly expired from wading through the white stuff, they had the good sense to stay in snug, warm dens.

Heading back home, I decided to take a different route which involved working my way through a pine thicket, up and down through some small valleys, across a long flat reached after climbing a lengthy steep ridge and on, out to Razorback Road about a half-mile from home.

Did anyone ever tell you how different the countryside looks when a foot or more of fresh snow makes every evergreen bough bend far toward the ground, when thickets of hazel brush become a jungle to fight through and when no landmark looks the same as it did during the leafless time of late autumn?

It was that way the Christmas day in question. A hunt that was supposed to last less than two hours and get me back home with an hour to spare before dinner wound up with me stomping and shaking off about 2 tons of snow on the porch about 20 minutes after the appointed hour of dinner.

All’s well that ends well, they say, and after enduring some pointed questions of my woodsman skills, particularly those involving the use of a compass, along with thinly veiled criticisms from the cooks about telling time, we all sat down to a slightly belated delicious Christmas dinner.

I haven’t hunted snowshoe hares ever since.