Snow Days

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Greetings from The (frozen) Booth!

It has been a “rock fight” of a week, with five straight days of either snow, brutally cold temperatures, or a combination of both, prompting five mornings of reading school cancellations and delays. Doing that took me back to my school days and one of the few things that made the barren post-Holiday Winter landscape tolerable–hearing the local DJ announce that your school was closed. So, this week I veer away from sports to wax nostalgic about the “snow day.”

There was nothing like the anticipation of having a day off as you watched the snow pile up outside. There was no internet or social media in the 60s and 70s, so you would be up at 4 or 5 am and tune to the local radio station. In my case, that would be WEPM in Martinsburg, where the legendary Ed Dockney did his morning show. In later years, WRNR would come into existence, with “Uncle Ed” Alexander also delivering the good (or bad) news about schools. As I remember it, only significant snows would cancel school. I hate to sound like the old curmudgeon who walked through 10 feet of snow in bare feet, uphill, both ways to get to school, but in my memory, it was close to that.

The snow day was special. We had a cow field behind my house on Talbott Avenue, and at 10 years old, that field seemed like it stretched the length of Berkeley County. To look at it now, it’s not so big. Funny how time shrinks things. Anyway, snow days would mean gathering all the neighborhood kids and walking through that field, climbing a few fences along the way, sleds in tow, to a hill near the Capitol Cement plant. After a few hours of sledding and snowball fighting, we would make our way back to the neighborhood, where someone’s mom would make hot chocolate. You know, real hot chocolate with milk, with actual marshmallows, not the freeze-dried kind. After a warm-up, it was back outside for some snow football, or some other kind of outdoor fun. There were no video games or electronic devices to be found in 1969.

Today’s snow days are a little different. For starters, a 1-2 inch snow will bring the entire area to a halt. I guess erring on the side of safety is a good thing. There is also “virtual learning” now.  Instead of sledding or slinging snowballs, kids now are looking into laptops and basically going to school remotely. As Dylan said, “the times, they are a’ changin’.” Seems to me that knowing a snow day is just another school day takes the excitement out of the whole thing. And, now the kids know their school is closed the day or night before by virtue of mass phone messaging, email blasts, or Facebook posts. The Ed Alexanders and Dockneys of the world are few and far between, although I’d like to think that I’m one.

What bothers me most, though, is that powdered hot chocolate and those tiny freeze-dried marshmallows.

Enjoy your snow days, and we’ll catch you again next time in The Booth!