I had to look through my window yesterday to make sure the four horsemen of the apocalypse weren’t galloping this way. I swiveled my head in every direction and even listened for hoof beats, but once I was sure I didn’t need to stock up on bottled water, beef jerky and flashlights, I gave thought to the matter at hand. School was being canceled for the next two days. The reason? Snow days.
For those of you who live north of the Mason-Dixon Line, I’m sure those two words are part of your winter vocabulary. Not so for those of us who are still slathering on SPF 45 during the month of December. When we hear that particular grouping of syllables together, the effect couldn’t be any more magical than a UFO sighting or any more mysterious than the high ratings of the Kardashians’ show. When you say “snow day,” you might as well say, “particle accelerator,” for all the hands-on experience we southerners have. And as for “ice on the roads,” we don’t even waste a brain cell on figuring that one out; we just close the front door and fire up the DVD player. Who needs tire chains when you have hot peppermint tea and Season Seven of Burn Notice?
But while adults are squeamish about this concept, children are still innocent enough to embrace its purity. Snow days mean vacation to them, and no amount of wet blankets in the form of pending assignments or an extended school term in May will smother their enthusiasm. When the students at my school learned that they were being allotted two extra days midweek to sleep in and snuggle under blankets, they greeted the news like the second coming of Christmas. Heralds raced up and down halls delivering the good tidings of great joy, and shouts of glory rang out as more and more worshiped at the altar of precipitation.
Their unadulterated glee reminded me of my freshman year in college. As a native Floridian on a Kentucky campus, I was holding my breath in anticipation of a blizzard and was disappointed to learn that big snows only blew in once every few years. Light snowfall, though, was still within my four year plan, and as soon as I heard the word “flurry” one December afternoon, I tore out the side door of my dormitory and stood on the lawn with all the other Sunshine State halfwits, trying to catch snowflakes on my tongue and my mittens. Life was bliss until I encountered my first ice patch on the sidewalk and nearly broke two bones standing up. My infatuation with frozen air has never been the same since.
But as I watched the teenagers and children racing towards the parking Tuesday afternoon, book bags flailing and grins arching across their faces like inverted rainbows, I remembered that childlike hope of snow days. And I hoped for their sake that dreams would come true.
© 2014 – Traci Carver