By Amy McCollom
We waited, watching carefully the words scrolling across the bottom of the screen. I remember holding my breath, fingers and toes crossed, waiting for my school to appear on that long list of names. Then jubilee, it was there. No school tomorrow! I loved snow days when I was a kid. It was like a surprise holiday.
We had more snow back then. I remember trudging through snow that was up to my rear-end. I remember making snowmen taller than my dad. He would sometimes get out there and help us build a snowman. He showed us how to roll a ball all around the yard until it became huge. Then he would roll another and another. Stacking them was the hard part. I remember seeing and hearing my dad strain to lift up the giant balls of snow and ice. But he always managed to do it.
My brother and I would always try to build a snow fort. We would work and work, pushing snow into make-shift walls, digging and even hauling in more snow on our sled. We thought we were building an igloo like we saw in books and on T.V. When you are less than ten years old, you believe you can do anything.
We worked and worked until we were sweating underneath our coats and sweaters. The thin fabric gloves we had back then would get soaked through eventually, and our fingers would burn from the cold. Still we would keep building, pushing snow, digging out windows until we were satisfied with our fort. When the sun was no longer overhead, and shadows made the backyard cold and unfriendly, we would go inside. Our clothes were soaked through, our legs and bottoms stinging and bright pink as we peeled off the layers of clothing.
There was no going back outside. Mom wouldn’t let us run in and out, tracking snow all over the floors was simply not allowed. We put our wet gloves and mittens on the heat register near the door, and hung our coats on the back of the kitchen chairs. Our boots and shoes were placed on a rag rug near the door to melt off.
I remember how good it felt to put on dry clothes and huddle by the heat register in our rooms. Our legs and hands still stinging, we crowded together on the floor until we all had our turn sitting on the register. I still don’t think there is any better feeling than warmth from the cold. I couldn’t help but sigh out loud with relief and comfort.
My dad would usually make a big pot of chili on snowy days like that. Nothing could be more perfect. Dry clothes, a warm spot on the floor, full tummies, and the pride of a job well done.
I remember looking out the window before climbing into bed. The moon brighter than the streetlight, everything looked magically blue outside. When my breath fogged the window, I wiped my pajama sleeve across it so I could see out again.
Then when I crawled under the covers, I thought of all the things I wanted to do the next day. Maybe we could build a snow family, or add to the fort, or knock big icicles from the eaves of the house and have a sword fight. Slowly sleep would settle upon me, relaxed and warm in my bed, I would sleep deeply. Ah, those are some sweet memories. May we always remember the good things. And there are always good things.