Nothing all that unusual for a Minnesotan to clear the walk of a neighbor who is out of town. But then again, how many of those lifting the shovel are 101 years old?
Richard Mann, born March 8, 1914, looked out last week and saw what a light snowfall had left, then did what had to be done for his traveling next-door neighbor in the 1500 block of Western Avenue N. in St. Paul
Another neighbor across the street made a visual record of Mann's gesture, put it online and the rest is viral history: more than 575,000 views in less than a week.
"Mr. Mann, I was looking out my window and I'm filming you right there at this time Mr. Mann," said Keven O'Bannon as he tromped across the street toward the stocking-capped centenarian with the posture of a man decades younger and a strong, clear voice. "You're 101 years old, and you're out here shoveling the neighbor's snow?" Mann, a great-grandfather, chuckled as he leaned on the upright shovel and replied, "Well, he's out of town, and I'm not exerting myself. I'm not going to overdo it. I can use the exercise. … I know what my limitations are."
O'Bannon said neighbors usually get to Mann's walk first, right after a snowfall, but he was out there ahead of them this time.
"We usually try to come out here and catch your snow," O'Bannon told Mann. "It was such a light snow … that we didn't really get out here."
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482