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Riding shotgun down the avalanche (of a foot of snow)

Palmer and Kim Larson have cured the empty nest syndrome. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)1 / 2
Palmer Larson and wife Kim spent three days plowing out customers all over Hubbard County. Kim decided to join her husband to spend "quality tme" together. He also owns an auto body repair business. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)2 / 2

In sickness and in snow.

Kim Larson is just realizing those were the marital vows she signed up for nearly 22 years ago.

She and husband Palmer became a team this winter - actually this week - in the snow plowing business.

"It was a way to spend quality time together," she said of joining her husband in the plow truck. Otherwise the Nevis couple might spend very little winter time together.

"He even lets me do the shoveling," she laughed.

But this is just a sidelight for Palmer. He owns Palmer's Body Shop, too.

When Palmer's list of plow clients kept growing, he needed some organizational help, Kim said.

He kept better track of whether the customers needed a plow than whether they'd paid their bill.

With Kim riding shotgun, she keeps the client list and billable amounts on a clipboard tablet and he worries about what's on the road.

"He doesn't have much of a system," Kim admits. "It's more for keeping track of people than getting paid."

He bought his first plow shortly after the couple married, having begun his auto body repair business in 1982.

"At first it was just to get us out and then he'd do the neighbors and it grew from there," Kim said. "He's not a fellow that'll sit home and watch, wait for somebody to plow him out. He had to have a plow for our driveway."

That spread to the neighbors.

He now has 80-100 clients in Park Rapids and in the country.

A major snowfall like Tuesday's will take him three days to clean up.

"He starts up north where people have to get out, then does the businesses, then heads back up north," Kim said.

Empty nest syndrome hit this year when the youngest of their three kids moved to Nebraska with his brother to find work.

Kim found herself as restless as her husband, so she suggested the pairing.

"Let's organize this according to direction," Kim suggested. And on the customers' work schedule.

"We've still got about 20 places to do yet today," Palmer said Thursday. His first order of business, however, is feeding the "security cat" and washing and repairing the truck.

Kim is hoping for a relatively quiet Valentine's Day. She has "something intimate" planned for the couple.

"Now don't embellish anything," Palmer warns.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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