Snowed In

February 12th, 2013 posted by W. Bruce Cameron

My children may have given up believing in the Easter Bunny, and they probably have their doubts about Santa Claus, but they still go to bed every night hoping that when they wake up the next morning, they’ll find so much snow has fallen from the sky that school has been canceled. Often I’m called in to offer my opinion on this prospect, the only subject about which my teenagers believe I may still offer valid counsel. Children: Dad, do you think we’ll have a snow day today? Dad: No. Children: (Outraged) Why not?! Dad: Well, for one thing, it’s June. Even during the middle of winter their optimism is misplaced; our school superintendent lived through the assault on Leningrad and feels that snow days should be used only when the school roofs are collapsing. But one day last week, the superintendent must have been on a trip in Fairbanks for the frostbite festival, because with a mere foot and a half of white stuff school was canceled. My children were so excited over not having to get up to go to school that they couldn’t sleep. They made hot chocolate and discussed plans for doing nothing all day. Caught up in the festive mood, I telephoned my boss to tell him I couldn’t make it in to work. “Too much snow,” I explained. “I hope you guys can get along without me today.” “What do you even DO?” he wanted to know. “I have to go,” I explained. Okay! I joined my children for some hot chocolate and exciting stories about how when I was their age it snowed like this every day and I had to walk to school. For some reason, they did not seem as appreciative of these instructional tales as one might expect. In the middle of this, my wife clomped into the room wearing knee-high boots, thick nylon pants, wool sweater, a bulky coat, mittens, a scarf, and a face mask. “Why are you still in your pajamas?” I asked curiously. “Let’s go shovel the driveway,” she answered, her voice muffled by the cloth over her mouth. “What? Are you kidding? It’s so cold out there the Donners just called and asked us to come over for dinner. Let’s wait awhile. Spring will come and the snow will melt.” “I need to go to work,” she replied. I pondered this, feeling that as a sequitur, her statement was completely non. “Honey, why don’t you take off a couple of feet of insulation and sit with us? Let’s turn on the TV and watch a movie starring one of the lesser Baldwins.” “Now!” she compromised. She stomped outside. My children regarded me solemnly. “Well,” I sighed, “I think she means it. You kids better get out there.” “Nice try, Dad!” they hooted, bolting from the table. I poured another cup of coffee and stood at the window. My wife has somehow developed the ability to communicate anger by the way she holds a snow shovel – – I have never heard of anyone else on the planet who can do this. When she glanced back at the house I waved cheerfully, and the gesture she made in reply seemed to indicate she was angry with me, for some inexplicable reason. I plunged out into the blizzard, grabbing a shovel and gamely digging into snow that felt as heavy as cement. “Let’s not stop until we get to Florida,” I suggested. We made pretty good progress for a while, but we forgot about a special service the county provides: Just when you think you’ve cleared a path, the plow truck roars by, sealing the mouth of the driveway with an avalanche. In the silence which followed this event, my wife and I stood there, snowflakes pelting our shoulders. “It took China centuries to build a wall that big,” I remarked. The tension seemed to go out of her shoulders, finally, and she set the shovel aside. “Let’s go inside and get warmed up,” she decided. “Have some hot cocoa, watch a movie with – – which Baldwin?” “Snoopy,” I proclaimed. “Or maybe Sneezy or Dopey. We’ll have to check the newspaper.” The kids cheered when they saw us walk in the front door. Apparently, it’s only a snow day when the whole family participates.

Copyright 2001 W. Bruce Cameron

W. Bruce Cameron (20 Posts)


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