Thursday, January 2, 2014

Snow Days

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It is a snow day in Chicago.  From the little bit of news I caught on TV today, it is a snow day in large parts of the Midwest and the Northeast.  The snow fell lightly but steadily from dusk on New Year’s Eve through noon on January 2.  The official accumulation in the town next to ours is 13.9 inches.  The temperature has been in the teens so the snow is very powdery.  The clean white landscape is beautiful and even more so when the skies cleared and the sun shined making everything whiter.

There were lots of cancellations today.   Some businesses closed.  Many schools and colleges were already closed for the holidays.  I imagine all school kids were excited by the snow storm.  They were probably a bit disappointed as well.  They probably felt cheated out of a snow day.   Even as an adult, I used to love the occasional snow day, but with computers and internet, there are no real snow days for adults anymore unless the electricity is out… and then it is not a very pleasant snow day at all.  Today was scheduled as a work in the home office day and that is exactly what I did.

Snow days were few and far between when I was a youngster, but they were wonderful and welcome surprises.  We seemed to get somewhere between zero and two days a year.  Even cooler, our more irresponsible, back then was the fact that they did not tack on days at the end of the year to make up for lost classroom time.  I do believe the Detroit Board of Education budgeted a few snow days into their schedule.  

To have snow days back then, we had to have what we used to simply call a “Big Snow.”  These were memorable storms that to this day are referred as The Blizzard of Fill in the blank with a year.  Being from Detroit, I recall one from the late 1960s and certainly the Blizzards of 1974, 1977, and 1978.  Back then there was no internet, no video games, and the TV had only four channels.  In those days, we didn’t have snow removal service nor did we have snow blowers.  We had heavy steel snow shovels and the family to clear the snow from the driveway and the sidewalks.  So, on snow days we played inside and when it stopped went outside to shovel and enjoy the snow and weather.  

The most recent old fashioned snow day I recall was in the 1990s in CT.  It was a massive snow storm that turned into a work and school snow day.  I began to clear off our massive driveway with the hope that the Kevork, our lawn and snow guy, would show.  Even when he did come there was a lot of shoveling to do but we got the job
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done.  Snows in CT tended to be wet and heavy so I was glad when that job was done.  

Ever since I have had four wheel SUVs, I loved to take them out on the snowy roads and see the winter wonderland that CT could be.  My daughter, Armene, also wanted to go sledding so we put the sled in the back of the 4Runner and drove around for awhile ending up at the Weston Historical Society where there was a wonderful hill.  Armene and Aram had a blast.  It was a great day.  That is the kind of snow day I kind of longed for today.

I noticed that recently, like this year, they have started naming winter storms.  This current storm is called Winter Storm Hercules; a most appropriate name.  
I didn't get the memo.

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