snow days

Growing up in southern Illinois made for plenty of opportunities for snow days.
The best thing about winter was getting school days off due to inclement weather. It was like a kid holiday!

I’d wake up at my usual time in the wee hours of the morning. Grandpa would have already been downstairs to put wood in the furnace, but it would still be chilly in the house. I would make a sleepy jog to the bathroom, where my mom always started little portable heater before I got in there. Toasty!

Mom made breakfast in the morning – eggs and toast, glass of milk and a half grapefruit (if they were available). On these snowy mornings, the radio set to WSIU made announcements of school closures. I listened in anticipation and eagerness as the list was announced. The idea of trudging in snowy cold the half mile to the bus stop was not appealing. The joy of hearing my school name spoken through the old speakers set me to dancing in the living-room.

Those snow days were usually filled with snow-ball wars with my neighbor friends and hot chocolate. There was definitely a Rockwellian feeling to those innocent wintry days.

I’m often surprised by the amount of oversight kids have now. When I was a kid, I would tell my mom that I was going over to Tammy’s house or Billy’s house or go play in the woods with our dog, Hoka, and off I’d go to return by dinner time. All that time in-between was mine and mine only. Now, there is no escape from parental eyes – whether it’s a cell phone tether or the addictive Facebook posting of our activities. There is a lack of true ‘aloneness’ these days.

I am lucky to have had these moments in my childhood – from frolicking in the snow, to taking quiet hikes in the woods with only Hoka dog as my companion. My imagination was often a friend with whom I shared these moments with, not the glowing screen of a handheld device.

It snowed in my town yesterday. I woke up to a white covered walkway and street and to the relaxing quiet that only happens after a fresh snowfall. The dogs happily ran around in the powder but came in more quickly than usual. They didn’t clamor for hot chocolate, but the critters did spend ample time lying down in front of the fireplace. Unfortunately, no snow days for me this time. I still look forward to the morning where I’m sipping my coffee and get the notice that work is closed due to inclement weather.