Let it close, let it close, let it close

Yale Hollander is a dad, husband, legal professional and writer whose works have appeared in a number of local and national publications. He is currently a trustee of the St. Louis Jewish Light, however the opinions and viewpoints he presents in this blog are strictly his. Follow him on Twitter @yalehollander.

By Yale Hollander

We have reached the season of my children’s discontent. 

It is February and the poor little ragamuffins have had to endure the indignity of attending school every single day the district scheduled for their educational enrichment. That’s right – no snow days . . . yet. 

My wife is a teacher who works in the kids’ district, and she too is dismayed by Jack Frost’s failure to bless us with a school-closing snowfall. She tends to forget that snow days leave her homebound with a pair of young ladies who turn into bored malcontents by noon and are in full Lord of the Flies mode by three. Never mind all that; a lousy snow day is like the doughnuts someone leaves in the break room six hours after the meeting for which they were purchased – an unexpected treat you’re not going to turn down, even the semi-petrified glazed ones that look like they were rolled in shards of broken glass.  

When I was a kid, you could have a foot of snow on the ground at 10 p.m. and you still wouldn’t know whether school was cancelled until the following morning. Not so any more. I recall a few occasions where the kids have barely had time to shuffle in from school, haphazardly flinging their overstuffed book bags across the kitchen table before the alerts announcing the following day’s cancellation started pouring in. 

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Ding! A text message announces that schools will be closed tomorrow. Bzzzzz! The district’s iThingy app alerts me to the same thing. Beep! There’s the closing alert on my Gmail app! Gong! And there it is on my work email! Brrrriiiiinnnnggggg! And now the house phone rings with the superintendent’s proclamation! <Theme from the movie “Shaft”>! And there’s the same proclamation on my cell phone! 

This sensory assault didn’t exist when I was in school. We had to seek out the information ourselves courtesy of the local radio and television stations, but only after 6 a.m. I actually had my own method of figuring things out before that magical hour. I lived about 500 or so feet from my elementary school, and I knew that the cafeteria workers reported for beef-chipping and can-opening duty at 5 a.m. If I was up early, all I had to do was look out my bedroom window. If the cafeteria lights were on: bad news. But if there were no cafeteria lights on, well, that was a hopeful sign. I still had to wait for the official verification, but I was almost certain to be in for a day of sledding, ironically, on the steep hill right next to the school cafeteria.  

As the past few years have proven, we are far from clear of the prospect for a winter sucker-punch. I’m sure the time will soon arrive when I receive the onslaught of alerts that will allow my wife and kids to sleep the early morning away, blissfully unaware that I am outside shoveling the driveway so that I can get to work on time. 

You see, my days of “snowcations” are far in the past. Absent the type of blizzard that clobbered the east coast last week, life goes on at my office, and so I shovel on, not begrudging the sleeping beauties snuggled up inside. 

Well, not begrudging too much, anyway.