Snow days for making memories

By Karl Terry: CNJ columnist

Snow day — those words always sounded so good.

We always used to get up early on snowy mornings and turn the radio up loud so we wouldn’t miss the proclamation that the weather was just too bad to hold school.

Actually I don’t ever remember missing a school closure announcement. Not once did I ever struggle through snow drifts only to be embarrassed when no one else showed up at school.

School weather closures are few and far between for school kids. We all have memories of those days. Mine is a day spent sledding behind an old Jeep driven by my uncle and dad.

We eventually convinced my mom and aunt to ride the sled and the mission quickly became seeing if we could unseat them. They finally went flying after the sled hit a rut and when we got the Jeep turned around both of them were lying motionless in the snow. Come to find out they quickly decided to play possum and give us all a scare for treating them so badly.

For my wife it was a wintry snow and ice day in Iowa. Electricity was out and two sets of her cousins lived in homes where they didn’t have heat. Her folks had heat and welcomed the others over for the day and eventually an overnight stay. She remembers her dad and uncles bringing home a big tub of carryout spaghetti from a restaurant that night. The kids were laid out like cordwood, on a pallet in front of the heat register for the night.

With a snow day this week where I didn’t need to go into work, my wife and I both were looking forward to a day inside taking it easy.

The day started with the sound of sleet pelting our windows, then in the short space of one cup of coffee I looked out again and we already had a couple of inches of snow on the ground. It was snowing hard and starting to blow.

The plan was a big pot of beef stew for supper, maybe a movie on TV, a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch and maybe later a head start on column writing.

Shortly after I had the stew started the power began to blink. It went on and off repeatedly for a few moments at a time over the space of a half hour then it went out and stayed out. The grilled cheese became a cold turkey sandwich and the movie was traded for a book.

We had carried lots of firewood into the house so keeping the living room warm wasn’t a problem during the day. The back rooms were getting a little chilly after four hours though.

Just about the time I decided the stew wasn’t going to have enough time to cook before supper the blessed boys of the rural electric came through. I transferred the stew from the electric slow cooker to a pot on the stove. I had it boiling in no time and the electricity held out until the potatoes and carrots were tender and the cornbread was golden.

The day hadn’t worked out exactly like we planned but it was laid back and memorable.