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Wishing for a Snow Day

“If there’s no school tomorrow, the first day back we’ll have our spelling test,” I told my 6th grade students. I hoped the prediction of 4-6” of snow would come true and school would be closed on Friday.

“What if it’s Monday?” a student asked.

“We’ll have spelling test. But if the weatherman is right, we’ll get lots of snow and it’ll be really cold and we won’t have school until the middle of next week. Do a snow dance tonight,” I said and held up my crossed fingers.

“I’m wearing my pajamas backwards,” said one girl, suggesting that would be good luck and snow. “Me, too!” sang a chorus of many. As much as my students wished for a no-school snow day, I wished harder. Snow days were happy days for me, as a student and teacher.

When I was young, Dad was the principal of Pickett County High School so when schools closed, my family was home. Chores were put aside, except necessary tasks, such as feeding life stock and milking the cow and keeping a fire going in the coal-burning furnace. Mom, Dad, my older brother, and I were home, sometimes for several days.

Mom made a pot of vegetable soup and we played games. I was about 8 years old when I learned to play Pig, a card game that’s popular in Pickett County, and requires four players and partners. We switched partners after each game, and we’d declare a grand winner, never me, but I wasn’t given much slack.

We also played Hearts, a card game that doesn’t require partners and could be played with only three people so I’d play if two more would. And Mom and I played Scrabble on our cardboard playing board and made words using the small wooden blocks with letters. I was always ready for a game and dealt the cards for Solitaire when alone.

As a teacher, snow days meant sleeping late. I loved unplanned days off. Calm and restful days to make soup and bake cookies. Days to play games and catch up on home projects. Days with my own children to sled and build snowmen and drink hot chocolate and play games and read books. Days accumulated by teaching extra minutes every day to allow no-school days without adding days at the end of the school year.

On snow days, I stayed home. I reasoned if the roads were dangerous for school buses to be driven on, they were dangerous for me. Sometimes the only slick roads were county mountain roads with bridges and people questioned why schools were closed for just a skiff of snow, but I supported, and still support, those who make decisions for the safety of all school children.

Now, as a retired teacher, when I hear, “Putnam County schools are closed,” feelings of calm and relief and happiness wash over me. Maybe I’ll do a snow dance and wear my pajamas backwards. I need a snow day!

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