This is our 3rd snow day of the season so far – we were suppose to get out of school on June 14th which would have been earlier than years pass but, nope, Mother Nature has other plans. I’m already hoping that we don’t get hit with instant summer this coming May to make teaching near impossible without air conditioning. Last June was hot and horrible, portending the nasty summer heat and humidity to come. Our weather feels so out of whack lately especially considering that New England abhors HOT summers (if we wanted hot and humid then we would be living in Florida or muggy Mississippi) then, whew! the snow storms keep coming full blast in the middle of the week – Wednesdays seems to be Mother’s favorite. NE cities and towns have no place to put the new snow – roadways are thinning, sidewalks are almost impossible to find, and parking is downright dangerous. The other problem is that NE municipalities are running out of snow removal monies, their budgets are strained by each snowflake that touches down ever so innocently.
Now you might say, quit your complaining, you’re a NE girl, brought up where it has snowed with relish during your youth in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire, and where they excel in snow removal. Kids love snow, adults not so much: we hate shoveling and cleaning off our cars at 6 AM in the morning. I would wager that unless you are skiing on it, or skating or snowmobiling, you curse the white stuff just as much as you curse high dew points in the summer.
My friend in Vermont has to dig a path out to her ducks and geese starting with October’s first snow and ending in April. Around this time of year the path starts to resemble a tunnel because the snow piles up higher and higher on the sides of the narrowing path. And then when it warms, she has to lay down boards to get to the ducks because as the snow melts it makes spring time mud. You have to wear Wellies (boots) for about 9 out of 12 months in Vermont, some stoic Vermonters wear their Birkenstocks year around but mucking out ducks is not the place to wear them! Often summer mornings when the temperature is still in the sixties(!) wool socks are worn with sandals until noon. Karin’s dog Nikki hates snow and just about refuses to leave the house even to do his business – spring/summer showers are also on his hate list because he doesn’t like getting his little paws wet. He doesn’t like mud much either. And he really doesn’t like to wear boots because, well, he’s a dog. Nikki is pretty much a bed-lap-couch potato kind of dog, born in warm Georgia and transplanted to Vermont. His blood will probably never thicken even though Karin doesn’t have his coat clipped during the winter and he looks like a chubby fuzzy butterball (he is a mini snowzer!).
This all brings me back to Snow Days! As a kid we loved our snow days off from school. The only way that you knew that you wouldn’t have school would be 1) listen for your school’s name; the TV announcers would read the no-school-postings during the morning news, or by 2) waiting for the bus that never comes. Snow days made you crazy as a kid, new snow beckoned you to spend the entire day building igloos, piles of snowballs, sledding runs and pathways and tunnels throughout the backyard. Cold didn’t faze us, one-piece snow suits protected everything but our rosy cheeks and noses. We would swished as we walked and we really didn’t need sleds or flying saucers because our snowsuits were slippery enough to send us flying head over heels down our snow shoots like summertime water whizzes. The best snow days were 1) ice storms (super cool long icicles and ice sculptures, and 2) thick crusty snow. There was nothing better, except maybe sticky snowball snow, than crusty snow that was thick enough to support your weight. Oh, but when you crashed through it would tear up your ankles (this was the only failing of the one piece snowsuit – the legs rode up out of your red zippered snow boots, and even though your wore several pairs of wool socks the crusty snow still found your weakest point) and chew up fabric like tights and long johns. Remember waffle knit long johns? When we were called in for lunch we peeled off our layers and drapped them over drying racks in front of heaters of every type, this included snow encrusted mittens and hats, scarves, snowsuits (of course!), socks, corduroy pants, tights, sweaters, and boots. They all gave off a musty sweaty smell as they warmed and semi-dryed* as we gobbled our lunches (universal snow day chow: tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches) and chugged our hot chocolates – the outdoors demanded that we not waste an instant on indoor manners and hospitalities – we would pile into our moist, semi-dry socks-suits-boots and grab new mittens, hats and scarves and hurry out into our wonderland of white for another 4 hours of solid pure unadulterated wonder. SNOW DAYS!