Snow Day!

By: Julie Day

We finally got some snow!

You’ve all heard the jokes about Southerners and snow, that at the first mention of snow in the forecast, we run to the store for milk and bread and – for good measure – go ahead and close down the schools. Jokes often spring from truth, and, as a native Southerner, I can’t dispute the stereotypes. As a child, I spent many a disappointed snow day wondering, “What snow?” I’ve also found myself at the grocery store in the middle of an agitated, shoving mob, which finally cleared to reveal nothing but a lonely, crushed loaf of Rye crammed at the back of an otherwise empty shelf. I stood there confused for a minute, then finally remembered the weather forecast.

My friends who are transplants from snowy climates like to make fun of what appears (on the surface) to be an exaggerated fear of a little winter weather. As a native, I’m here to tell you that fear is nowhere in the equation. What we’re doing is preparing for a wonderful phenomenon that we like to call “Snow Day.”

Snow Day is a holiday – it can’t be kept on a calendar, but it’s a strict holiday, with strict rules. The trip to the grocery store is only the beginning of it. Pots of soup and chili are next, along with power-outage-preparedness, fire-building, movie rental, 24-hour live news coverage, and dusting off of nearly-dry-rotted snow and ski gear. Family and friends must be telephoned to complete the ritual conversation (“You snowed in?” “Yep, you?” “Yep.”). Bonus points are given for tales of driving somewhere, especially if you slid around a little without crashing. Sledding and snowmen are mandatory, no matter how light the dusting, and (nowadays) photos of snow-crusted children must be posted to blogs or Facebook profiles before sundown. It’s not to be trifled with.

We LOVE snow. It’s a perfect excuse to take a day off (and an even better reason to run around acting like kids). The beauty and spectacle remind us that we’ve been having way too little fun, and we promptly cancel anything that smells like work and head outdoors.

I can get around just fine in the winter weather, but I wouldn’t give up Snow Day for anything. I laced up my boots and trooped downtown to my favorite lunch cafe, dodging snowballs and admiring snowmen along the way. I threw a few snowballs, too. My community had such a fabulous day that we closed everything down the next day, too, for good measure. We are a culture that knows an opportunity to play when we see one, and for that I’m proud!

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