Root Cellar

Snow days: then and now

By KRISTIN BARRON
Posted 2/19/20

This year’s mild winter in the Upper Delaware region has had a lot of benefits. Some of the most obvious, of course, are lower heating bills and safer driving conditions. But it hasn’t …

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Root Cellar

Snow days: then and now

Posted

This year’s mild winter in the Upper Delaware region has had a lot of benefits. Some of the most obvious, of course, are lower heating bills and safer driving conditions. But it hasn’t been so good for the skiers and ice fishermen, and least of all for the teachers and students hoping to catch a break with a snow day from school.

All of that changed with last week’s stretch of minor storms, as most local school districts had at least a few delay days. It was a welcome reprieve that undoubtedly sent up a cheer across the land.

My daughter, now a senior in high school, was happy to sleep in, as was my husband, who is a teacher at Sullivan West. (Even if he did do all the shoveling, worked on income tax forms and had to rearrange his class plans multiple times.)

When I was a kid, I remember getting the good news of a school cancellation from WDLA on the radio. The suspense built as the announcer listed the names in alphabetical order and seemed to linger on those schools—Franklin and Greene—right before announcing my school: the Hancock Central School District.

We have now advanced to the more sterile “Robo Call” and text message methods of alerting families to closings, although Facebook often beats them all at being the first to get the word out. Gone too are the days of the “snow tree,” a list of teacher’s names that we had taped above the landline phone. In turn, the teachers at my husband’s school would call each other to spread the news. This method sometimes broke down and worked only as long as everyone played their part.

This past week I found myself missing the days when the kids would do their gleeful “snow day dance” to celebrate their day off: a day for sledding, homemade pizza, Godzilla movies and the inevitable squabbles over what to do next.

My kids tried all the usual superstitious rituals said to induce a snow day: wearing pajamas backward, wearing socks to bed and flushing ice cubes down the toilet. Some kids run laps around the kitchen table. This strategy at least proves to encourage sleepiness if not snow.

Another tactic to bring on a snow day requires kids to put a spoon under their pillow before going to sleep. This is a tradition that works about as well as placing a knife under the pillow of a woman in labor in order to “cut the pain.”

These days, we just hope for the best. As it turned out, the snow day on Friday was a family affair. Even my son at Syracuse University had a day off due to the weather. It is only the fifth time in the University’s 150 year history the school has canceled classes due to snow. It seems we were all due a day off.

snow days

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