A four-letter word was uttered over the weekend that gave me and probably every child going back to school this week hope.
The mere thought of snow makes me happy.
The lovely blanket of powder creates an atmosphere of peace and slows our pace considerably as we focus on sipping hot cocoa around a roaring fire.
“That’s because you Southerners shut everything down at the mere utterance of the word,” my Wisconsin friend Todd has said on more than one occasion. I can hear the hard eye roll that accompanies it.
I’m fine with that statement no matter how weak it makes us sound by Midwestern standards.
I am well aware they have to go to work and school with feet of snow on the ground, but their homes and roads are made for it.
Here, we can barely handle navigating a roundabout, so we don’t need to add any kind of wintry mix to the equation.
I was excited because it may mean my child’s winter break would be extended by a day or two.
When he was in kindergarten, it snowed for most of the month of January. It was a blissful respite from our regular routine, and we were able to spend the days watching our favorite movies and snuggling.
Now, the only joy it would give him would be the thought of sleeping late.
Just the mere thought of frozen precipitation made me smile, even if I knew there was no real chance it would stick.
Still, I had hope.
Snow days are magical, no matter when they happen.
Especially if there is no ice so we don’t lose power and the sacred internet.
But the sheer possibility of a snow day, no matter how low the odds may be, still makes me as a giddy and excited as I was one evening when I was a high school senior.
Except that time, the forecast predicted a fairly good chance of getting snow. And lots of it.
The few times it snowed when I was growing up, it was either a blizzard that shut the whole area down for days or it was gone by noon; there was no in between.
“Ain’t gonna snow,” Granny said. “I ain’t hurting. So, it ain’t gonna do nothing.”
“The weatherman said it was going to snow,” I insisted. “They were even talking about it at school today.”
How word had got out, I don’t know, especially in the non-connected world of the ‘90’s.
All I knew was we all were anticipating a snow day. Maybe even a blizzard. Antarctica proportions of snow were was going to be dumped along Highway 78 between Atlanta and Athens.
Even though Granny’s joints were saying otherwise, she went to the Piggly Wiggly and got me some Little Debbies and the perfunctory milk and bread along with some toilet paper.
“We were out anyway, and your granddaddy likes his Corn Flakes before bed,” she said, as justification. “We can survive without milk and bread if it does snow. But we would be downright uncivilized without toilet paper.”
For some reason, a friend and I decided to celebrate the impending blizzard by staying on the phone all night and wait for the first snow to fall.
This was back in the days where phones had endless long cords, so we didn’t have to worry about a battery getting low. I usually liked getting on the phone in Granny’s room since I could walk down the hall to the kitchen and grab something to eat.
We talked and talked and talked until Granny ran me out of her bedroom.
“I’ve got to go to work in the morning
and you’ll have to go to school,” she said telling me to hang up the phone.
“No one will be going anywhere,” I said with a singsongy voice. “There will be too much snow!”
Granny snorted. “You’ll be going to school, lil’un. Believe me. It ain’t gonna snow.”
I scurried to my room to call my friend back, peeking out the window before I did.
It was around 10 p.m. – the snow hadn’t started yet, but it was going to, we just knew it.
Hours went by as we were fueled by the
adrenaline rush of knowing we’d have a snow day off from school, delighted by
the thought that we were going to have a long weekend.
Maybe if it snowed hard enough, we’d be off on Monday too we mused.
Around 5 a.m. I heard Mama’s little Ford putter into the driveway – how had she made it home in the snow without chains on her tires, I wondered?
I ran to the door to greet her, phone in hand.
“What are you doing up so early, Kitten?” she asked startled.
“I haven’t gone to bed yet.”
“What? Why? Are you sick?”
“No,” I began. “We’re going to have a snow day.”
Mama stood at the bottom of our steps and turned slowly towards the yard.
Instead, the sky was lit with stars and there wasn’t even a drop of moisture on the ground.
Her lips pressed into a thin line at the silly realization before her. “I don’t think that’s going to happen,” she said.
“Um, we may have a problem,” I told my friend. “It didn’t snow.”
“Are you sure? Really sure?”
“There’s not the first snowflake anywhere.”
It was 43 degrees. We had not been to sleep, nor had we done our homework.
And we had school in a few hours.
That sole experience made me a little cautious anytime the forecast starts hyping up any kind of winter event, but even now, like a kid, I still get excited over the mere chance of snow.