Nothing in the world is more magical for a child (beyond Birthdays and of course Christmas) than the announcement that school is canceled due to weather. It’s that hope, that prayer, that wish-upon-a-star they’ve been waiting for.
In Utah, Snow days are rare. Black ice—no problem. Blizzards—we deal with it. Freezing rain—what’s that? (Seriously, we don’t get freezing rain). We have our mountains of salt reserve, so, therefore, we might be a little late but, we’ll get there eventually.
When I was a child, I used to hope for a snow day. My siblings and I were never interested in the news, let alone the weathercast unless there was a rumor that a big snowstorm was coming. Then suddenly, we became barometer masters and meteorologist mystics. Even though the news the night before never said school was going to be canceled the next day, it was the idea that we might be able to predict the outcome of the storm—or at least plant the idea in my parent’s head.
I remember every snow day as the same sequence of events: sitting at the kitchen table grinding down my teeth with a bowl of Grape Nuts cereal—eyes half closed, socks mismatched, hair barely combed through—when I hear the call.
In the middle of Good Morning America, three blasts of a Public Safety Announcement would bleep in, and Joan Lunden was silenced. A stream of information would scroll along the bottom of the television screen and a robotic voice would say our dreams had come true. And then the lottery would begin.
A declaration that school was canceled was nothing but build up. First, the robot would give the name of the school district affected by the weather followed by the names of the high schools, the junior high or middle schools, and finally the elementary schools within that district.
My siblings and I would sit, frozen, watching the scroll along the bottom of the television screen—fingers crossed so hard it would take minutes for blood to recirculate and un-purple them.
The list of school districts never seemed to be in any specific order which made guessing which ones were next similar to betting on the ponies—come on Weber school district!
We would sit and watch the television until the cycle of every school given a special snow day surprise had been announced three times. And as much elation we had when our school was granted leave, it delivered the same intensity of grief when our school was denied. It was worse was when the school day was delayed by an hour or two—talk about insult to injury!
Kids weren’t the only ones who bet against having to leave the house—trudging a tunnel through thirty-four-inches of white powder just to scrape the windows of their cars and then sliding off into a snow bank a half mile from their homes—either.
I remember with the possibility of a snow day my parents watching the television screen or listening to the radio holding their breath, too. Although, maybe they were, in fact, wishing against us?
Who would want to stay stuck inside a snow globe inverse with eight kids? Maybe that’s why parents are so keen on making sure driveways and sidewalks are void of all snow? Perhaps that’s why snow blowers were really invented? Some engineer had one too many snow days holed up with their kids?
Today, the closure of all schools within the Jordan school district was granted. I received three texts from my son, two were screenshots of the PSA, and the third had two words and an exclamation point—SNOW DAY! (See what I mean? Since when do teenagers use punctuation in their texts?)
Outside I hear the groan and drone of a snow blower fighting against the white powder—probably someone desperate to leave their house. The kids next door are screaming and playing in the drifts—making igloos no doubt.
My dog, having navigated through the snow up to her ears to pee, is burrowed in bed next to my daughter. And my son is unconscious, clutching his cell phone in his fingers with a grin across his face.
Happy Snow Day everybody!