Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 19, 2018

When did snow days stop being fun?

By Karyn Spory, Mt. Pleasant News | Jan 12, 2018

As a child, there was no sound sweeter than newscaster Chad Douglas saying “Clark County R-1 School District will be closed today due to weather.”

Yesterday, as the temperature dropped dramatically and rain began to freeze, then turn to snow, I attempted to calculate how long it might take me to drive home in the inclement weather or if I should attempt a stop at the grocery store for necessities. I realized how much of a fuddy-duddy adulthood has made me. For an adult, a snow day is an inconvenience. As a kid, it’s a day filled with endless possibilities.

My mom worked for the local school district. The shrill sounds of the landline would wake me, my heart would quicken. Could it actually be a snow day?

I’d tiptoe into the dining room, only to find the corkscrew phone cord stretched nearly straight as it wrapped around the doorway and into the kitchen as Mom bounced between the stove and the fridge. An excitement would erupt within me. There was only one reason the phone rang at six o’clock in the morning.

I’d dart around her, squeeze behind my dad as he sat at the kitchen table, waiting for his eggs or oatmeal or whatever was for breakfast that morning, and turn up the volume on the 13 inch TV in the kitchen. There was just something about the local newscaster telling you school was canceled that made it so much more true.

Growing up, if I wasn’t at home I could be found with my two best friends — Daniel and Royce — and Daniel’s tag-along little brother, Michael. Snow days weren’t any different. But before we could go up to Sower’s hill to go sledding, our sidewalks had to be shoveled.

As we grew up, and wised up, we learned we’d make it to Sower’s hill quicker if we helped each other out. It worked beautifully until Daniel and Michael started helping their brother, who had a snow removal business.

After I scooped the walk at home, I’d cut through my neighbor’s yard, through the community garden and back to Senior Housing to help out. Shoveling was often interrupted with a snowball fight, or the perfect spot to make a snow angel. By the time we were done, our little faces were red and our fingers numb.

It never failed, however, Mom always had four mugs of hot cocoa ready when the boys walked me home. We’d unbundle and sit on the living room floor, slurping our hot cocoa as we watched cartoons.

When we finally made it to Sower’s hill, we were renewed with a sense of purpose — to see who was brave enough to make it all the way down the hill without bailing off their sled. Sower’s hill was peppered with trees and ended with Main Street cutting through it. If you were brave enough to cross Main Street and enjoy the rush of flying down the ditch to the other side, you were greeted by a barbed wire fence.

When dad got home in the evenings (because snow days don’t happen for adults) he would drag out the toboggan — a sleek aluminum sled my grandpa had designed — and hook it up to the back of the four-wheeler. He took us all over town in that thing. We’d fishtail through the streets, speed around curves and if we were lucky, he’d find a snow bank for us to soar off. If we thought sledding down Sower’s hill and across Main Street was a rush, hanging on for dear life to that toboggan was the ultimate thrill seeking experience.

One year it snowed so much and had the perfect packing consistency that Dad helped us build an igloo. We would sit in that thing for hours, only leaving when our thermos of cocoa was empty and we were sure frost bite had set in.

When was it that I stopped enjoying snow days? I guess you could say it was when they no longer existed for me. But even if it snows on the weekend, I don’t go out and go sledding. I don’t make snow angels. I groan as I bend over to put on my snow boots and complain the entire time I have to shovel the walks.

So maybe this year my goal will be to find a bit of my childhood joy for things that in adulthood have become mundane — like shoveling the sidewalk. Maybe next time I’ll take the time to make a snow angel. I just hope I’ll be able to get back up!

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