All day. I woke to five or six inches of white on the ground. Zeke’s school was delayed, and so were the home school district schools and a local university. I figured my institution would be delayed too, since it usually follows the home school district, and has done so ever since the then-new president canceled classes for 1/2 inch of snow, got into trouble, then didn’t cancel for 18 inches or the flood that followed a few weeks later! I kept waiting for the announcement that the first hour or two of classes had been canceled. I didn’t want to get up and go to work to find school was delayed or closed, so I kept an ear out in my warm comfy bed …. until I fell back asleep, and slept hard for two hours after a week of mild sleep deprivation.
When I woke, it was half an hour before my first class (conferences, actually, this week). I called a couple of colleagues to find out if I needed to go in, but got no answers. Were they in class? Or at home? There was no information ANYWHERE, about the status of my institution. All the local schools and the local university were delayed by two hours, so it made sense that my place of work would be too, but making sense and reality are not the same things where I work.
After 20 minutes, a colleague called back to tell me that, “Yes, classes are in session.” So I had to hustle and I arrived late to find my first two conference kids waiting.
“How was your drive?” I asked them.
“My little Honda slid all over the freeway,” one of them said. His words threw me back 16 years to the time I walked into a meeting on a dismally dark October day, and left an hour later to find four inches of snow on the ground. It was my first term at the college. It was my birthday. And I had a 35-mile drive home. It took me almost three hours, and I walked in the front door to tell my then-husband, “We’re moving!” My rear-wheel drive Toyota Starlet with the 3/4 bald graduate students tires had skated home like roller-blades on an ice rink. One guy in a 4X pick up tailgated me till he got tired of my slow speed and then zoomed past on the median of the freeway. Two miles later I saw his truck upside down in the median, and him standing by it, looking cold. I could hear sirens in the distance, heading to his truck perhaps, or to one of the other multiple accidents that littered that freeway that day.
Today I have a four-wheel drive car with top-of-the-line tires for my frequent drives over the mountain pass to my dad’s house. The anti-lock brakes kick on at the slightest sign of a skid, and the beast plows through six inches of snow as though it’s on a summer road. Still, I’m cautious. And when I hear my students talk of their hair-raising drives in their little cars with bald tires, of skidding into the ditch or fishtailing across intersections and praying that no one is coming, I remember those days. “Don’t risk an accident trying to get to class on a day like today,” I tell them. “It’s not worth it.”
The snow has slowed down, and the temperature has lifted a little. Maybe tomorrow will be clear. But I’d prefer that it snows all night and we wake to five feet and wind-created snow sculptures like I did in Ireland in the winter of 1982. It’s unlikely, but I long for it anyway.