By Ernie Fowler – Nashville CHSD #99
There are two words that bring joy to the faces of every kid and teacher throughout the country. Those two word…SNOW DAY!
A snow day serves as a surprise vacation. It is like being gifted extra time to do as the heart pleases. So many choices…what to do, what to do with a whole day free from the constraints of the school bell schedule!
When I was a young lad, I remember the excitement that surrounded a weather forecast of possible snow in Southern Illinois. At the first sign of a snowflake, I became obsessed with WSIL-TV 3.
My eyes continually watched to see if those glorious words might appear on the screen….”School Closings- Eldorado C.U.S.D. #4, no classes”.
My heart raced in anticipation throughout the evening as I prayed feverishly that the Superintendent might come to his senses at any moment and realize that the ½ inch of snow would be a peril that no bus could overcome.
Often I went to bed with the snow falling but no word from the powers that be regarding a snow day. I would pop up from the bed like a Jack in the Box every hour or so to monitor the snowfall through my bedroom window. Finally, my little body had enough and sleep overtook me.
In the old days, prior to phone messages sent from the school, the only communication we had was from the TV or radio. My sign that a snow day may be upon me happened around 6:30am when my mom failed to swing the bedroom door open and flip on the 100 watt overhead light in my room. Could it be? Yes! I realized that a snow day was upon me.
Now that I had all of this free time, what would I do?
Of course, the first order of business was to sleep until 9-10 a.m. as I had to catch up on my sleep following a night of invoking the snow gods to surround the Superintendent’ house and dump a foot of snow which would surely close down the school.
Once out of bed, of course I had to get my heavy clothes on to go outside. It seemed like I spent an hour to get adequately dressed in order to deal with the elements. Once outside, it was time to build a snow man, throw some snow balls, and make some snow angels.
Thirty minutes later, I was banging on the door in an effort to get my mom to help me remove the ton of clothes so that I could get warm inside the house.
It wasn’t until I became a parent that I realized how annoying it was to help get the kids dressed for a day of outdoor winter play to find that the kid’s definition of “a day” was a half hour!
By noon, it was time for a baloney sandwich and bowl of soup.
Now, what do I do with the remainder of the day? The 1970’s had no Playstation, XBox, or Wii. Our house only had three TV stations so I had my choice of “General Hospital,” “Days of Our Lives,” or “Search for Tomorrow.”
From about middle afternoon on, my mom got to hear the words every parent hears by kids with time on their hands…”I’m bored”.
Fortunately, the evening news would be on soon. Thus would begin the next cycle of…”mom, do ya think we’ll have school tomorrow?” which would be asked at least 99 more times and another night of let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!