School’s Out . . . for Winter

January 21, 2011

As I sit here in the early winter dark, having received the call that schools have been closed today and my services will not be required, I consider the mixture of anticipation and activity, boredom and patience, as well as the obligatory heavy, hard work, that a proper snow day imparts.


And let me say that today—with a few inches dusting the sidewalk that did not in any way prevent me from taking my dog Charley on his morning walk, did not prevent the bakery on the corner of my block from opening and tempting me, as always, with the smell of fresh gingerbread muffins, and will not prevent me from hopping into my car in a few hours to go into school and pick up some work I need to finish—today is not a snow day.



A proper snow day is when everyone stays home and everyone is off the roads except for snowplow drivers, guys in trucks driving to the public works so they can start their work as snowplow drivers, and the occasional idiot in a Jeep Cherokee or a Subaru who thinks doing an unexpected 360˚ spin on I-93 is somehow entertaining. And why is everyone off the roads on a proper snow day? Because there would be a twelve-to-twenty-four inch thick blanket that we’d need half the day to clear from our long New Hampshire driveways and half the day to recover from. Alternately, a proper snow day would not include snow at all, but instead a one inch sheet of ice on everything that meant we weren’t going anywhere until it warmed up enough for us to head into our yards and start clearing away all the fallen birch trees and broken pine boughs.

But I live in Massachusetts now, so today is just a day that school has been cancelled, and by ten o’clock kids will be sledding or building snowmen or playing Wii in their basements while parents go out to run errands or do laundry or seclude themselves in their offices because they’re “working from home” and end up surfing Hulu and watching an entire season or two of Arrested Development or Lost. By twelve o’clock the streets will be full of Domino’s Pizza delivery drivers and teenagers going to the 12-plex and soon enough the day will be over.

And it’s not so bad, this unexpected holiday, at least until June when it’s seventy-five degrees out and sunny, and we’re all wondering why the heck we’re still stuck inside the classroom when our brains have checked out weeks before. And that’s where patience has to kick in, just like it has to kick in on a real snow day, when the sledding’s done and the cocoa’s drunk and you’re just staring out the window almost wishing you could be in class, because at least being in class isn’t nearly as boring as staring out the window at plowed roads and the Domino’s guy zipping by in his dented old Corolla.

But right now the snow’s still falling and it’s still a little dark and Charley’s sitting here at my feet chewing ice balls from his paws. I don’t have to shovel just yet and I don’t have anywhere to be, so proper snow day or not, I might as well enjoy it.


2 Responses to “School’s Out . . . for Winter”

  1. lisa said

    I love reading your stories! XXOO

  2. aww, that’s sweet. . . and you’re home today too. Making pie?

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