Our school district had a day off last week due to weather. Then on Friday, we had a two hour delay before we had to report. Since I work for the schools, I was the beneficiary of this meteorological largesse. My wife sure looked cold when she had to clean off her car before setting off to work. I felt bad that she had to see me watching her from the living room window.
So, I closed the shades.
In other words, there’s several inches of global warming in my backyard.
Apart from the last day of school, trick-or-treating, fireworks, Easter baskets, summer camp, days at the beach, Valentine cards, trips to the amusement park, lighting farts, and Christmas morning, there’s nothing quite so wondrous for a child than a snow day.
Sadly, we adults don’t look at winter storms in quite the same way as children. To us, a blizzard is another word for “Highway Bumper Cars,” “Lower Back Pain,” and “Hello, 911? My husband is face down in the snow.”
No, instead of leaping in joyous rapture each time a ridiculously grinning weatherman proclaims the imminent arrival of a significant winter weather event, grownups look upon a coming squall with dread. To them, it’s just extra work with the added perks of frostbite and heart attacks.
For a child to reap the maximum value from a snowstorm, though, it must occur during the week. A Saturday blizzard does no good and neither does Sunday, unless it’s so severe that streets can’t be plowed for school buses the next morning.
The primo days are Friday or Monday. However, if the storm strikes on Friday, the town has two whole days to clean the mess before classes start the following week. A Monday storm is perfect because it holds out the possibility of school being closed the following day, too.
Never mind that an excessive number of snow days may push the final day of school until the Fourth of July. Shoot, that’s months away! Like kids everywhere, all they care about is instant gratification.
Memorizing which television channels broadcast cancellations the earliest, kids get up well before dawn, intent on hearing their school proclaimed as one of the lucky few. This, of course, causes woeful parents to lament “they should pay as much attention during math class!”
Upon hearing the happy news, they plan their day, based on the projected amounts of snowfall. If, as they fervently hope, the heavens dump more than a foot, the possibilities are endless. Whether snow forts, snowmen, snow angels, or snowball fights, the day is wide open for all manner of snow fun.
Ignoring their mother’s vain pleas to “eat a good breakfast,” older kids dash outside just about at the same time their father is trying to breathe life into the balky snow thrower.
The littlest ones can’t escape their mother’s clutches quite so easily. In addition to a hot bowl of something to “stick to their ribs” (which is physically impossible and kinda icky), they must dress as if their very lives depended on staying warm.
Steadfast in the belief that one must dress in layers, moms manage to outfit their youngest in everything from their closets. Once that’s done, on go the leggings, sweater, overcoat, wool socks, boots, and those mittens with strings that loop through sleeves.
Following the inevitable bathroom break, the process begins all over again.
Once completed, the youngsters waddle outside like toddler Frankensteins. Where they are powerless to dodge snowballs from their older, much more mobile, siblings.
Prior to the outbreak of hostilities, prospective combatants divide into teams and begin erecting their very own snow forts. If built correctly, these elaborate structures offer impregnable protection from frontal assault. Which is all well and good until the “enemy” realizes the value of running around the house and pelting you from behind your own personal Maginot Line.
The snow missiles themselves are of vital importance. You don’t want them too small; nor do you want them so large that it’s impossible to fling them at anything other than fire hydrants. Or little brothers.
Some kids opt to store up a supply of these jumbo snowballs, though. Looked on as wintry “weapons of mass destruction,” these behemoths can lay waste to your opponents, sisters, or passing cars. Their sheer size makes for great “shock and awe.”
A twist some kids employ is the snowball version of nuclear weapons. Possessing much more bang for the buck than your average run-of-the-mill snowball, these beauties are made of ice and fiendishly concealed bits of rock.
These painful little demons will surely carry the day for anyone so reckless as to use them. However, they also contain the real danger that, once pelted in the kisser, your opponent may just quit. The result is you won, but on the downside, game over.
So most kids, while they make them, just “pray we never have to use them.”
Next: Corn cob pipes, button noses, and two eyes made of coal........