Chicago doesn’t have snow days. I guess you don’t really need them when you have salt and plows and people who don’t freak out at the slightest hint of a flurry. (Except for that one storm two years ago when the city shut down. I wasn’t actually here for that storm, but you can’t talk about snow around here without someone mentioning ‘Snowpocolypse 2011’.)
I miss snow days. They were very rare in Mississippi. But there’s nothing quite like the bliss of learning that school has been cancelled around 6:30 a.m. (I’ve experienced this both as a student and a teacher.) If the buses can’t run, or there’s any doubt of the buses safety, we can’t have school. One inch of snow could quite literally shut down a small Mississippi town.
Some of my fondest childhood memories took place on snow days.
- One time, we rented movies before a big storm, and our power went out. Our dad was able to sweet talk the lady at the rental place into not charging us a fee since the video was now lodged in our VCR.
- I got into my first ‘fight’ when I was 10 because my friend’s little brother threw my hat over a fence. I felt really tough for the 4.5 seconds that I was hitting him, and then he chased me all the way home.
- After the same fight, my dad made me bacon and eggs while I was hiding out in our house too afraid to face what repercussions might await outside.
- I remember orchestrating a rather large scale snow ball fight with a friend in my backyard.
- The best was probably the time my little sister rebelled because the older kids weren’t giving her enough turns with the sled. So, she and a friend stole a sled and climbed up a steep driveway in the neighborhood. At the last moment, her friend chickened out and abandoned ship. This left my five-year-old sister helpless and unable to control the sled as it torpedoed towards a parked car at the bottom of the driveway. The big kids, realizing we had misplaced our younger sisters, arrived on the scene just in time to see the crash which caused my sister to slide under the car and lose a boot in the process. My sister was so mad, she walked home with only one boot on. I still fail to see how her crash was our fault.
I realize Mississippi has no way to deal with the snow. No plows, no salt, an abundance of hills. And real accumulation rarely happens. There could be years between snow days, so we knew how to make them count. My question is, is snow still special to the children of Chicago and its surrounding suburbs? Do they know the joy of waking up in the morning only to have your parents tell you to go back to sleep because school is cancelled? Do they know how important it is to play in the snow right away because by noon it might all be gone? I certainly hope snow is still special in this part of the country.
Children of Chicago, please enjoy your snow. There are lots of children in Mississippi who go without!