Originally Published: December 11, 2016 5:59 a.m.
I looked at a coworker the other day and said, “I’m going home for naptime. I’m done being an adult today.”
She laughed and laughed. I was only partially kidding.
Some days I find myself yearning for 1970s Western Maryland snow days. The knowledge was golden that I could crawl back into bed until whenever I wanted, because there was no school that day.
We didn’t have Facebook or text alerts to tell us that school was closed, of course. Where we lived, we didn’t even get TV notifications until I was in high school.
The radio is where we huddled around listening for school delays and closures. It was on the kitchen bar, right next to my dad’s police scanner. (Or “nosy neighbor box” as my mom called that squawky thing).
I’d hop up on the high bar stool and get close to the radio— because I didn’t want to miss the every 15 minute announcement! I can still hear our town’s radio personalities reading off the list of schools, my body tense waiting for my school’s name. Schools to the west always got more snow days then we did since we were right at the edge of Western Maryland. I often wished we lived in the mountainous part so I could sleep in more! But, then when I’d hear in June that Cumberland schools had to go two weeks longer in the summer than we did to make up those snow days, I’d be pretty happy we just got delayed.
What I think I miss the most of those days is the way a child lives day to day. There was no thinking ahead of consequences like making up snow days. There was no updating an electronic calendar to make appointments three weeks in the future or constant checking of email. I couldn't care less back then on a snowy day in December that I had to eventually make up a test I missed.
Snow days were fun in my house when I was little. I’d snuggle back into my bed for a few hours, then mom would yell up the stairs that breakfast was ready. She had time to make her fluffy scrambled eggs sandwiches, dripping in butter, on toast — also dripping with butter. I’m sure my future heart attack had its beginnings at that point, but you know kids — we didn’t care! Mom would also supply a big mug of hot chocolate. She wasn’t a mini marshmallow kind of mom — she just dropped one giant marshmallow in that cup!
Before my coat, I’d put on several layers of clothes and socks, a scarf, ear muffs and gloves. Oh, and my boots, of course. Out the back door I’d go. The yard was so pristine white that I hated to put footprints on it, but a snowman had to be built. All the neighborhood kids prayed for that slightly wet snow that stuck like glue when rolled. Every yard had a snowman by the end of the afternoon on days like that. We kids would eventually meet in the alley that ran in back of our yards and walk up and down, ohhing and ahhing over everyone’s creation. There may have been a snowball altercation or two.
When I hit high school, snow days weren’t as exciting. Probably had something to do with all the shoveling I was suddenly responsible for. Boy, did I grow to dread those two- and three-day blizzards that buried everyone’s car and blocked the alley. I’d spend hours with my dad digging out cars, needing multiple changes of clothes as they got soaked.
When I see snow now, I still kind of dread it, even here in Arizona. Scraping off the car, sliding into work, suffering cold, wet feet, slipping on wet floors where everyone is dragging in the snow.
Hopefully, the first big snow we get here this season will be on my day off and I can pretend it’s an old-fashioned snow day. I wonder if my husband knows how to make Heart Attack Egg Sandwiches?
Until next time, Robin