School Snow Days - A Precious Gift
I’ve been retired from teaching for many years, but I still look out the window each winter morning to see if school will be called off because of snow. Even though, when I was teaching, I knew it had to be made up in the spring, a canceled school day seemed like a precious gift in the middle of a busy school year. I often wondered if my students knew just how much their teacher looked forward to those unexpected winter vacations. I hope I hid it well.
In visiting with my fellow teachers back then, it seems most of us headed for the kitchen when we knew we wouldn’t have to go to school. What is there about blizzards that makes one want to bake cookies? Perhaps part of the reason is that it takes a long time to bake a batch of cookies, one sheet at a time - a luxury we hurried and harried teachers seldom had.
A snow day also gave me time to think back about such events when I was a child on the farm. Did it really snow a lot more years ago, or did it just seem like that because I was a small child?
The biggest snow drifts always formed right down the middle of our farm yard. I’m sure Dad hated to see it piling up there because it covered the lane leading out of the yard. But my siblings and I loved having it so handy. And the bigger the better. Oh, the tunnels and caves we made!
Looking back, I believe my parents were just as happy as we children to have a snow day. It was the perfect excuse to stay near the stove and rest a bit from the usual daily grind.
I can still see Dad stretched out on the old sofa, having a nap in the middle of the day. Mom would spend the quiet afternoon doing her “fancy” work while listening to soap operas on the radio.
Chores still had to be done, morning and evening, and were likely much harder to do because of all the snow. But other outdoor tasks could be put off.
Of course, we had to wait till the snow quit coming down to get the most out of it. So we spent many of the snow day hours inside - coloring, reading, and, of course, eating fresh cookies.
As soon as the snow quit, Dad started moving the drifts out
of his way, using the loader on his tractor. As we watched, we knew he was actually opening the way for us to go to school the next day, but we made the most of the day we had. Sometimes, if we were really lucky, the blizzard lasted more than a day and left so much snow that the county roads weren’t opened for even more days.
I suppose I’ll always have the same feeling about a snow day - that snug, all-wrapped-up feeling of being safe and warm in the house. And I’ll always feel like baking cookies on those days.
Shhh! Don’t tell my former students!