February 7, 2014
Carolyn J. Rose
The snow piled up quickly and the bulletin soon went out—no school on Friday. Even though a school cancellation means no pay for a substitute teacher, I felt a jolt of joy, that sense of having received a gift, getting a “free” day when I hadn’t expected one.
In the Catskill Mountains where I grew up, the five inches that fell here might not have been enough to call off school. The snow days I recall were due to more accumulation of heavy snow, or freezing rain, or the dire threat of both. There were many snowy mornings when we hovered close to the battered radio in the kitchen, waiting for the announcer to repeat the closings, hoping to hear Onteora included on the list, certain there had to be a mistake if it wasn’t.
My mother, a school nurse, would cheer along with us when a snow day was called. For her, though, it was hardly a “free” day, not with three kids wanting lunch, tracking in snow, leaving wet clothing in heaps, and abandoning dirty dishes everywhere. And my father, who ran a small construction company, would go to work as usual—after plowing his way to the county road and clearing the lanes to relatives’ houses.
There won’t be anyone plowing our street—city crews manage the main roads, but ours is hardly that. So I may have a “free” day, but my choices of how to spend it will be limited by how much traction my tires can get.