This morning I woke up to a raucous world of swirling white. The rattling wind is blowing huge, wet snowflakes up against door frames and outside screens. It is a late February storm that will wreak havoc on today, but will be neatly shoveled by tomorrow. All of the local schools have called it. I’m sure there were anxious students and teachers up early, waiting for notifications. Now I am retired, snow days have taken on a whole new meaning. I slept until 7:00 AM, knowing I didn’t have to worry about closings.
Snow days sure have evolved since I was younger.
When I was a little girl we had snow, huge massive white out snow, but we rarely had snow days. The school districts expected us to trudge through the drifts to work on our addition and recite poetry. School was important; snow was just an annoyance. But there were those precious times when we were nudged quietly in the mornings by our mothers, “No school today.” Hallelujah! We layered on our coats, boots, and mittens to drag our sleds to various spots where we spent hours careening down dangerous hills. When our mittens were frozen to our hands, we reluctantly walked home where our mothers met us at the door with hot chocolate and Rice Crispie treats. As our clothes dried by the radiator we watched episodes of Gilligan’s Island and Dark Shadows and Match Game.
In college there were no such things as snow days. We had to be in class, no matter the hazardous conditions. We dug our cars out, tugged on boots, and made it across campus to half-filled classrooms.
Since I became a teacher, snow days were still crucial in my life. I watched the weather reports. I listened for the phone to ring. The crawl at the bottom of the television was epically vital. Even as I prayed for a break, I knew those days would be tacked onto the end of the school year. A couple of years ago we had eight, yes, count them, eight snow days, and we went well into June.
When my boys were little, we all hoped for those special days, especially if all the schools were called. I would be the one to gently nudge them with those magical words, “No school today.” We then reveled in Legos, chocolate chip cookies, and hours of Nickelodeon. Of course, they also wanted to scope out choice sledding hills, but instead of exploring on their own, this often involved me attempting to drive treacherous roads to drop off and pick up when they had had enough. Ahhh…the times they did change.
Now that I’m retired, snow days are more gentle, yet still precious. No longer do I wait for the dinging of the text alert. Today I have nowhere to go, there are fixings for sandwiches in my frig, and I have bottles of both red and white stashed. Later I will sit in front of the fire while I read or knit. The storm may blow outside, but I’ll just watch the flakes pile up from the warmth of my home. Welcome, snow day. You stop the world with your magical power.
“A snowy day literally and figuratively falls from the sky – unbidden – and seems like a thing of wonder.” – Susan Orlean