|(Steeper than it looks in this photo)|
We've had two days this winter of real slide-down-the-hills-and-throw-snowballs snow this winter. On those days, N. is up early and out the door along with all the other kids in the neighborhood. Since all car traffic virtually stops in our city as soon as flurries begin and snow plows never make it to side streets, the kids gather with sleds at the top of a steep little street in our neighborhood. Parents guard the intersections while chatting and drinking hot drinks in thermal mugs. If the conditions are good and you have the right sled, you might get a two-and-a-half-block run downhill. Adult neighbors catch up with each other while kids throw themselves down the slopes for hours. The mood is festive because snow is rare and short-lived.
By the next day, the snow is mostly melted and the plow has probably come through. There's no more sledding. But the schools in town are still closed! And will continue to be so for days, due to fears of icy roads or unusually cold temperatures. During a 14-day stretch in February, the public and private schools here had about 3 1/2 days of school, I think.
I love the festivity of the initial snow days, but this excessive fear of a little bit of snow, ice, and cold, drives me, a native Minnesotan, nuts. Canceling school the moment the mercury drops below 32 is very hard on working parents and the many kids who depend on school for meals. And I confess to feeling a little smugness along with sympathy as the snow days drag on, seemingly unnecessarily, wreaking havoc on the lives of our friends. While other kids are home day after day driving their parents crazy, N. and Tim go easily back to their regular studies and routines. We get all of the fun and little of the disruption caused by snow days in the South.