I always loved a good snow day. My parents were both teachers, and while between the four of us — my parents, brother, and me — we populated three different school systems, most snow days were shared days at home. We filled those days with all of the traditional fun and fare — playing outside until we were well-chilled and soaked through, hot chocolate, lazy afternoons reading and watching television. Perhaps waffles and sausage for dinner. Maybe a board game. Certain disappointment if the snow was fluffy and not ‘packable’ — for what was the point of fluffy snow? What is a kid to do with that? (Contrasted, of course, with my father’s relief in fluffy snow as it made shoveling infinitely easier and we did not own a snowblower). The snow day itself began early, with the anticipation the day before. These were, of course, the days before the internet, minute-by-minute doppler radar available to the masses, and the ‘snow day calculator.’ I remember vividly, though, the chatter the day before — snow day? Early dismissal? Delayed opening? Then the long wait in front of the tv, watching the tape scroll along the bottom of the screen, listing in alphabetical order the closings and delays that had been reported. In the order of alphabetical superiority among my family’s schools, mine was dead last. I don’t know about my brother (or my parents), but I always held my breath a little in the hope that school was on for me, it would be on for everyone else, too. Don’t get me wrong, I loved school. But a snow day was a little drop of magic in the middle of winter, and the idea of missing out when others reveled stung even to consider.
Now, and for the past decade, I have worked in a school, and I have to say that the snow day excitement has not diminished by a single drop. In fact, it may even be heightened, particularly in this phase of protracted pandemic exhaustion. I certainly don’t have any more control over the weather now than I did as a student, but I do have the ear of people with the power to make that call to close, and trust me when I say my colleagues and I use the full extent of our persuasive power to effect that sort of change. Sure, the kids need to learn. Yes, I do love what I do. But after all we have been through, don’t we all deserve a little bit of snow day magic?
Yes, I am writing this in the middle of a ‘bombogenesis’ storm that is taking place inconveniently (or conveniently, depending on how you look at it) on a Saturday. The unanimous opinion in my group chat with work friends this morning was that while this is lovely, yesterday or Monday would have been ideal timing. Ah, well. Here I sit, with my blanket, my book, my needlepoint, and a bevy of streaming options to enjoy by the fire. Unlike snow days of old, I have social plans later — ‘parallel play’ hangout time with my daughter in college this afternoon and a post-dinner cocktail chat with a dear friend, both courtesy of FaceTime. The rest of the day, though, is filled with the same blissful quiet, comfort, and wonder I delighted in as a child. I wonder if the snow is fluffy today…
Wherever you are, I hope you are safe and warm, and that your day brings you a little magic.