When you live in the Midwest, "snow days" are part of your winter vocabulary, along with snowblowers, snowmobiles, snow boots, and, well, just plain snow.
They're what kids and teachers look forward to, and what parents either love or hate. Part of the excitement falls in the uncertainty, waiting for that early-morning phone call that says to go back to sleep, or watching the school names on the ticker across the TV screen. Although technology now gives us website updates and e-mail warnings and text-message announcements, one of my favorite ways of getting the snow-day news is listening to WCCO radio to see how fast the morning show guys can list the hundreds of school delays and closings.
Depending on where you live, a snow day may be brought about by snow, ice, or even severe cold. (The severity of the cold is relative to your usual clime; it takes a lot more cold but a lot less snow to call off school in Minnesota than in Ohio, or so my sister tells me.)
As a kid, snow days were exciting. All the rural kids had a designated "storm home" in town in case the buses couldn't run. I remember being in kindergarten and having to go to my great-aunt's house with my cousins. The snow drifts were so big that the older ones lifted me over because my little legs couldn't make it through.
When were in high school, we learned that school would likely be dismissed early if we couldn't see the grain elevator from the history-room window. The elevator was three blocks away.
As a teacher, I loved those early-morning phone calls that allowed me to roll over and go back to sleep. The school where I taught in Iowa was well-prepared; they had separate schedules for 1-hour late start, 2-hour late start, 1:00 dismissal, and 2:00 dismissal so everyone knew where to go, and more importantly, when to eat lunch.
As a parent, I look at snow days a little differently. It's scary to have the kids outside in the extreme cold waiting for the bus, or knowing they're on a long route in the country when the weather and roads are questionable. I'd rather just have them home, safe and warm with me.
I've created a tradition of baking cookies on snow days, for something fun to do when suddenly having a together day at home, and also to ward off the cold and storms outside.
What's your take on snow days? Love 'em? Hate 'em? Do you do anything special to celebrate? Do you have any childhood snow day memories?