Last weekend we had our first good snow of the season. I kept calling it four or five inches until my husband took the tape measure out and proved it was actually more like NINE.
We did the usual snow day things–made lasagna, read, wrote, watched movies, had many cups of tea, hung out with our neighbors (no driving required), bundled up to walk Thistle through the drifts, and posted pictures of the snow on Facebook. Just in case no one else had seen it.
When I was a kid, of course, snow days were a bit more exciting. And in West Virginia in the 1970s, they seemed more dramatic, too. I remember missing almost the entire month of February one winter. It was so cold that a skim of ice would form on the top of the pail of milk in the time it took Dad to walk from the barn to the house.
Poor Mom. Stuck inside with three kids day after day. And it was too cold to play outside. At least Dad had livestock to tend.
I remember the power going out during a snowstorm once. Dad stoked the fireplace and we got to sleep in the living room floor in sleeping bags. Mom made us wear knit hats since those were the days when we still believed you lost most of your heat through the top of your head.
There was tomato soup with grilled cheese. Card games and board games. Sledding and the building of snowmen. We played in the hayloft, which was a smidge warmer than outside. Mittens were soaked through and hung up to dry. Chapstick was applied and reapplied. And someone usually had an accident in their snowsuit.
We also fed the cattle. The winter my older brother had appendicitis, I got to ride on the trailer, cutting the twine on bales of hay, and pushing it off for the cows. Bart, our Black Angus bull, would steal bites of hay from the trailer. He was a sweetheart, though, and I’d scratch him behind the ears anyway.
It got dark early those days and in my memory the house was the coziest place in the world. A nation unto itself. A place where the snow and cold could never reach.
Somehow snow days were more magical then.