It never snowed much down there. And when it did, we rarely ever got out of school because of it.
I mean rarely to the nth degree.
I cannot express to you how much I wanted a snow day every now and then. I worked hard. I deserved one. Plus, every other school system around got them.
Therefore, every time the weatherman said the S word, I would be called to duty.
First, I would get my hopes up. That was the easy part. It happened almost instantaneously until I was about a junior or senior in high school. By then, I was cynical; but in the elementary school years, I was a bouncing bundle of enthusiasm.
Second, I would send up a little prayer. I didn’t ask for much. Is asking for enough snow to cause school to be called off such a tall order? I wasn’t picky. I would’ve taken ice, sleet or even freezing rain. We didn’t have black ice in those days. And for the record, I still don’t know what that means.
Third, I would ready my battle station, which meant putting a stool in the utility room so I could sit while I looked out the door for that first flake to waft into the beam of the back porch light.
When snow was in the forecast — during every commercial break all evening long — I would run to the utility room, flip on the porch light and fully expect to see hundreds of huge, wet, fat snowflakes falling to the frozen ground and piling on top of each other like a big thick blanket.
No precipitation was bad enough. Rain was even worse, because it was just a tease — especially since our outdoor thermometer was stuck on 33 every school night from November to March.
The weatherman would always backpedal. Here’s how the progression would go: early on, he would say “snow”, then he would say “rain possibly changing to snow,” then he would say the dreaded “little or no accumulation,” followed by — you guessed it, the snow-day death knell, “higher elevations.”
Oh, Lord, to live in those mystical “higher elevations,” or Narnia if you’re CS Lewis.
I was desperate.
I even toyed around with the idea that if Mother Nature wasn’t going to cooperate, I could step in.
I’m not sure if it was accurate or not, but our school principal was widely rumored to have the power to call off school on those rare occasions when it did snow.
I recall thinking how some of us could go to his house under the cover of darkness, take his hosepipe and squirt water on the ground and bushes around his back porch to make him think it had iced over when he looked out his back door.
For the record, I still think it would’ve worked.
Now, I live about 150 miles east and just about 10 miles farther north from where I grew up.
The other night, the meteorologist — with his millions of dollars of equipment, advanced degrees and experience — called for the possibility of snow.
Actually, he started mentioning it 2 weeks before when a little bitty fickle storm system started forming somewhere in the Midwest.
Right on cue, though, at dark that night I went to the back door and flipped on the light — the same way I have for more than four decades.
I went back three or four more times.
By 9 p.m., I could see the moon. On twitter, I learned that the higher elevations had received some accumulation.
Of course, school had already been called off, simply because the meteorologist said the S word.
Or, maybe a group of young patriots went to the principal’s house, turned on the hosepipe and took matters into their own hands.