It’s Friday and Snow-ma-geddon is happening across the upper Midwest. As predicted, Lake Effect snow began last night – with the snow falling fast and beautiful. I’m thankful to be on the inside looking out.
After an eye appointment yesterday, I took the opportunity to pick up some groceries — by 3:30 p.m. the store was packed – with Seniors! Older ladies & gents with small carts stuffed full of bread, fruit, eggs, lunch meats, deli cheeses, big jugs of wine, candy bars, frozen foods, baked goods and toilet paper. Everyone was chatty and the mood was upbeat, with a camaraderie that comes from sharing a weather event. Even the cashiers were cheery; I bagged my groceries and pushed the heavy cart through the slush to my vehicle.
Hubbs and I chatted last night remembering what it felt like to be a kid on an evening like that ~ going to bed happy, deliciously anticipating two glorious words at dawn’s early light:
Because he grew up in town, and I on a farm, his “Snow Day” experience was a lot different from mine. He remembers being woken up by his Mom, letting him know that school had been cancelled, she was leaving for work and their “to-do” list was on the table. He & his brother were to shovel the driveway, each taking a side. There may have been other chores to do, some of which were his sisters. Then, once the jobs were done, he, and his best friend Bob, would head to their favorite sledding hill ~ Now picture a grown man whose eyes take on a dreamy look as he remembered their adventures on that hill. They had traditional toboggans, saucers, and of course old-fashioned sleds with runners. He even remembered being ran over by his buddy once, two of them ending in a tangled heap. “He over-cooked it! Of course he did,” he said, laughing. Often, after a full day of sledding adventures, they’d return for more that evening. “Their” hill had a pole light nearby which allowed for night-time sliding ~ and he speaks fondly of the two of them laying on their backs, staring up at the stars, catching their breath and talking. Good stuff.
On the farm we received the glorious news via a phone call from our Bus Driver, Elliott. One of two things had happened: 1) school was officially cancelled (yay!) OR 2) the bus wouldn’t start (-40 temps). Dad typically was the messenger – we’d wake to hear him quietly say, “back to bed – no school” or “back to bed – the bus won’t start” — all 5 of us did a collective “tuck & roll” and snoozed a bit longer.
I don’t remember extra chores ~ my brothers helped Dad with farm animals daily and we girls did, too, plus we always helped Mom inside. What I remember most vividly was how it never took us long to hatch a plan ~ the family farm has a winding coulee / cow pasture directly to the north, with wicked sledding hills, some more treacherous than others. Mom fed us a big breakfast and booted us outside; we’d walk to the coulee as a group, dragging our sleds and crazy carpets behind us. There we’d stay for hours ~ or so it seemed. I favored the crazy carpet because it was much faster than the wooden toboggan – and it was easier to pull up the hill. However, it afforded absolutely no protection if you ran over a frozen cow pie. Toboggans would ricochet off but that thin plastic barrier ensured at least one banged up knee or bruised tailbone. We didn’t care – the faster the better, we lined up, zoomed down, and back up we’d go. So. Much. Fun! When we finally had enough, in we’d come, red-faced with sweaty hair, frosted scarves, starving and exhausted. Mom would make us tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches followed by a card game or two. And, if we were really lucky, and the roads had cleared, Dad might take us into town to skate at the local rink. He’d visit with neighbors, play cards and eat pie.
Chatting with our oldest son, he shared that the grands have a snow day too – and he has the day off and they’re scouting for the perfect sledding hill. They’ve got snowboards and saucers but he’ll be the biggest kid on the hill 🙂
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* Below is the family coulee ~ in the distance you can see our magnificent sledding hills … oh the memories.
What do you remember about snow days when you were a kid? How did you get the glorious news? And do you get snow days now?