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Duchnowski: Sandwich man strives to make neighbors laugh

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, April 7, 2014 12:53 p.m. CDT
(Photo provided)
“Missy DeSlopeski” couldn’t make it to the Olympics. That’s how Sandwich resident Mike Castle, who created this scene recently on a five-foot snowpile in front of his home, describes it, anyway.

I hate winter. I hate snow, I hate ice. I hate scraping it off my car, and I’m really grateful that my neighbors shovel it off our shared sidewalk without expecting me to help.

My reaction, pre-coffee at 3 a.m., to the bitter cold weather recently made me unwittingly glare at a man who wished me and some travel companions a good morning. My friend Renee Messacar refers to this glare as my “Grumpy Cat” face; Grumpy Cat has made more and more appearances lately.

Mike Castle doesn’t have the same reaction to winter.

A Sandwich resident who will turn 54 April Fools’ Day, Castle takes joy in crafting fun outdoor scenes year-round, most recently sticking skis and a mannequin head into a five-foot pile of snow near his home. He dubbed her “Missy DeSlopeski,” and gave her a friend in a scarecrow seated next to the snowpile, along with a sign proclaiming “Welcome to freeze your butt off Sandwich.”

“I have a real crazy imagination, you know what I’m saying,” Castle said, after mailing me a photo of Missy. “I’m always thinking of something. I keep the neighborhood laughing.”

He found most of the props to make Missy, and his other projects, at area garage sales. He paid $3 for the ceiling fan he crafted into a windmill to display in his front yard in the 200 block of West First Street in Sandwich. Before Missy, he had some dolls displayed on the snowpile as if they were sledding.

Castle has some crafty plans for St. Patrick’s Day, but he asked me not to share them with you. It’s a surprise.

Whatever it is, it won’t entail the snowpile. In the past week, the pile has melted to about a third of its prior stature. The “Grumpy Cat” inside me has a strong reaction to that: Good! This winter, and its snow, has lasted long enough.

I do wish Castle the best of luck in his future decorative ventures, however. Sometimes, it’s really the little things that make us smile, and if we can all do a little something to bring a smile to someone’s face, why not?

No one really needs to see Grumpy Cat.

Jillian Duchnowski is the Daily Chronicle’s news editor. Reach her at 815-756-4841, ext. 2221, or email jduchnowski@shawmedia.com.

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