“THIS?!” I stared out into the yard disapprovingly at a thin white blanket, just enough to cover the green of the grass.
“This can hardly be considered a snow day.”
Given that it was Saturday, I was really meaning a day of snow. Not a day off from school. But nevertheless, I can’t say I approved of the scantily clad back yard.
“I’m sorry girls, this is about as much snow as we are probably going to get. Might as well enjoy it while it lasts.”
Oh it lasted, alright. Our backyard was shaded by tall pines, and the way the sun followed the curvature of the earth as it made its way across the sky, our front yard was the last in our neighborhood to actually thaw.
I distinctly remember what a true snow day was, back in Ohio where I grew up. We had enough snow to build grand fortresses, so long as we were willing to work tirelessly during the construction period. And once we grew bored (or tired, or sore, or hungry) of the task, we would leave our three-walled fortresses and head to the park a few blocks away.
There was a really great hill at that park, encircled by a bike path. We’d grab our sleds, and take turns making runs down the hill. We’d have to be careful because if we went over the path and continued on, we would end up in the creek.
Speaking of creeks, we had a small one in our back yard as well, just beyond our fence. Many many days and nights were spent back there, yet in the winter we stayed away. Sometimes the creek would freeze over, which was really neat. We’d be able to walk on it. The wide bank on our side actually sloped downward toward the creek. That, coupled with snow, maybe even ice, was quite hazardous when we trekked back and forth over the creek to our friend Rose’s house. I can’t positively confirm whether or not we attempted to turn that bank into an ice skating rink one winter… And she has an even stepper decline on her side of the creek. So if you timed it just right, you could slide right under her wooden fence, down the bank a little bit and dig your heels into the snow right before dropping into the creek. It turned out to be a 50/50 shot, especially if we used one of those plastic poster-thin sleds where you picked up speed too quickly for your own good.
I do remember it was not always play time. There was much to be done with the driveway, and side walk. My mom’s house had a carport and sometimes snow would drift up pretty high near the front door. It all needed to be shoveled and salted, shoveled and salted. I didn’t mind the hard labor, though I can’t speak for my sisters. I enjoyed shoveling, and seeing what came from all the hard work. I may have done my neighbors’ sidewalks as well, for free, since I liked it that much. I can’t ever remember complaining about the job, not even the cold.
When snow fell on a weeknight, we would cross our fingers for a snow day the next day. I think it was the only time I would wake up early – just to check the news and see if our county would be down there in the list of names scrolling by. I wish I could say that I slept in. I’d likely do it today, but I typically enjoyed a slow morning, prepping for adventures outside. It was especially memorable in elementary school, when things were simple. We played outside in our own little world with our neighborhood friends. Not another care in the world, except how we would split time on sleds and divide up into teams.
Jolted back from my moments of reminiscing, I look over to see that the kids are jumping on the trampoline. “Another favorite thing we liked to do when it snowed,” I thought to myself.
“Mommy, look at me! Watch my jump!”
These kids get so squirrely with excitement when they hear it might snow. It’s odd to me that they don’t know snow like I know snow though. We ought to take responsibility for this. We as parents are depriving them of the very joy of winter. They’ve spent the majority of their lives growing up in the south. They don’t know winters like I knew them as a kid. Never been sledding! No idea how to make a snowball the correct way – not the powdery stuff, or the kind of slushy stuff that is so wet it will soak your wool gloves straight away. They don’t know the struggle of shoveling the driveway, only to have it coated again and again with fresh new layers. They didn’t even know what that funny tool was that I used to scrape my windshield last weekend.
I always say “It doesn’t make sense to be THIS cold unless there is going to be snow.” And, “Maybe we should buy a cabin in the mountains.”