Friday, February 7, 2014

Snow Day!!!

February 7, 2014
Carolyn J. Rose

Schools closed two hours early yesterday here in Vancouver, Washington. Students and teachers were urged to get home quickly and safely. I didn’t need any prodding and was grateful that my commute was a mere three miles, very little of it uphill. There were few cars on the road and no one honked at me to move faster than what I considered to be a safe speed.
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.


  1. Hi Carolyn,

    We just have to be thankful that snow is one commodity in short supply here so far this year, and long may it remain that way!

    We live on the edge of an urban housing estate, however you might well be forgiven for thinking we were in the middle of nowhere. The councils only ever grit the main roads in bad snow or ice conditions, however in our case it is pretty much a pointless operation, as getting to the main road is almost an impossibility without a 4x4 car, although try telling that to employers!

    Our more immediate and dire problem, here in the South of the Country, is rain, record high tides on the coast and severe gale force winds, which have persisted for nigh on 2 months now and show little sign of easing (apparently the jet stream has changed its regular course, causing all these problems!).

    Stone sea defences, promenades, piers, homes and businesses, have been battered, flooded, washed aside and swept out to sea in random acts of destruction. Entire harbours have been destroyed and boats sunk, leaving property vulnerable to swirling couldrons of 30 to 40 ft waves, wiping out the livelihoods of generations of fishermen. The cost to the tourist economy will only become clear when the big clean-up can begin, if it ever stops raining.

    Meanwhile the waters continue to rise on the Somerset levels, not too far from where we live (although thankfully we are on relatively high ground and perfectly safe, if a little sodden) with several thousand acres of farmland and many villages and towns, remaining cut off, without power and accessible only by boat!

    Life always seemed so much easier when we were children ....Or is that just middle age talking now?


    1. I think it seemed easier because we were sheltered from much of it or didn't realize the impact or, as children, looked toward the adventure of it.
      My hope for all of us is a gorgeous spring.