Surprised by Snow

We never seemed to know when a snow storm was coming. Back in the day we didn’t have Doppler Weather Radar. Or maybe we just didn’t care.

But no big deal. Most mothers were stay-at-home, and expert in the science of unjamming snowsuit zippers, and pulling on leggings and mittens.

My siblings and I cheered when we heard the hoped-for announcement over a local radio station. We couldn’t wait to set out for Frenchy’s Hill. Somehow, all memories of frozen fingers and toes from last winter had been erased from our minds.

As we loaded up on french toast or scrambled eggs – whatever Mom had on the stove – we’d hear the early scraaape-scraaape-scrape of snow shovels on the sidewalk. Someone clearing a path. Chester Smith, the old man next door, used to yell if you stepped on his grass.  Once I shoveled his walk as a favor. He poked his head outside and grumbled, “Come here and I’ll give you a quarter!”

I didn’t even want it.

Today, once again, we have a snow day.

I was notified of the mini-vacation by the school district’s website. Red letters flashed at the top of the screen: CLASSES CANCELED TODAY, FRIDAY, JAN. 6, 2017.  Now I can hunker down, instead of substitute teaching a bunch of seventh graders whose lack of understanding about what it means to “read” anything can only be described as a gaping hole.

When our kids were at home, a snowy morning would compel my husband to declare a “snow emergency!” Right away he’d put on his boots and parka. And a few minutes later, clamor back in the door with an armload of wood for the fire place or wood stove, and pummel them onto the hearth.

The “emergency” would then compel him to brave the elements in search of whatever we might need.

Don’t we need bread? How about some milk? We need milk, don’t we? If we didn’t require any groceries, he’d say the car needed gas. Any reason at all to shovel his way out onto the road and wrestle with the white stuff.

Really, I think he just wanted to look at the wonder of it all.

The day would be wonderful and I’d make applesauce doughnuts. TDigital StillCamerahe children would come in wet and rosy-cheeked from playing,  hair smelling like the wind.

These days, we listen to common sense more than we listen to the news. We don’t go out on bad roads unless it’s absolutely necessary. And not being essential personnel at a hospital or air traffic control center, we usually just stay home. Even my 30-something daughter in Denver hasn’t ventured out in her new Jeep. It seems children, as they age, grow very wise.

The middle school kids I was teaching  this week (and I use the term lightly) will be overjoyed with their surprise snow day. Accumulations were more than the weather people predicted.

I’m sure the kids are plotting and texting about all the electronic games they plan to play today, especially the new ones they got for Christmas. In fact, they will become so engrossed, they will forget the mean old lady who told them they needed to read their science “packets” before answering the questions. And they will forget their incredulity at my request to start each sentence with a capital letter and end with punctuation.

I just hope they venture out to see the wonder of it all. FFG

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