I just started a fire in the fireplace and snuggled on the couch with my laptop. A moment ago, I was staring at this blank computer screen until the wind chimes on the back patio sang me out of my stupor. A little prayer crossed my mind, and I asked God to send some snow.
But then I thought, "Hey, wait! Not today. Today's Saturday. Could you hold it off for Monday?"
Don't let any teacher lie to you; we pray just as hard as kids do for snow on a school day. There is something magical about hearing snow predictions from the weather man on the evening news, getting into bed with the debate in your head -- set the alarm or not -- then turning on the TV in the morning still snuggled in your covers, wanting desperately to see your county on the "No School Today" list.
Not a 2-hour delay. That requires getting out of our pajamas. We want the whole day.
The feeling is the same feeling that gets us into the movie theater to watch the latest thriller, or causes us to play Clue, or puts that mystery novel in our hands. We love the pins-and-needles, fingers-crossed feel of a mystery. The thrill of trying to figure out and make bets on the unknown. I think it's why many of us ran out to the Exxon station and bought a lottery ticket for the first time just for a chance at winning the recent gazillion dollar PowerBall.
It's the thrill of the possibility that something magnificent might be in our future.
You think I jest in comparing a snow day for teachers to winning the PowerBall, but a snow day is really that priceless.
The very harsh, sad reality is, snow doesn't seem to find us a lot here in Columbus. I mean, I don't necessarily want to spend the night with my students after snow strands us at school, like what happened to my niece and nephew in Acworth a few years back. But an organized, pre-determined, well-stocked-pantry kind of snow day would be perfect.
So, the dream will forever be alive, and God will hear from a lot more teachers and students when the temperature drops here in South Georgia.
I remember one time when I was teaching in South Carolina, the dream came true and school was cancelled for an unexpected snow. Of course, I was overjoyed to remain in my pajamas all day and get some work done, until I remembered my laptop was at school.
"I'll just drive the 2 miles to school and go get it," my fearless youth told me. Thoughts like those have long since ceased to enter my head. The older I get, the "Hey, watch this!" mentality is replaced with thoughts of insurance deductibles. My mom would be proud, as well as my insurance agent -- I decided not to drive. I opted for the mountain bike.
What a simple, safe adventure I thought it would be. So I bundled up and headed out.
There is a certain serene stillness on a snowy day, and I enjoyed the walk to the top of my driveway. That is where the enjoyment of the serenity ended.
I mounted the two-wheeler and started on my way.
After a long time of tedious pedaling on the ice-packed snow, I looked back to see how far I had conquered. About 10 yards. Another decision had to be made. Get back in my pajamas or press on. Well, this Southern girl was not going to let the Northern blast get the best of her, so I pressed on.
I'm not sure if I would call that decision wise or not. Some might diagnose it as indicative of a passionately resolved professional, dedicated to her job. Others -- I would assume to be mostly fellow teachers -- might assess the decision as foolishly ignorant of the truly precious gift God had given. Whatever the descriptor, I kept going. With no cars braving the whiteout, I claimed the very center of the road in the hopes that any mishap would land me on the street and not down some snowy embankment to be overlooked and freeze to death.
The mechanics of riding a bike in icy snow is quite difficult. Every time I pushed the pedal down, instead of projecting me forward, the tire would skid and push me nowhere. I'd count to 10 and try again. After every few feet gained, I would feel triumphant enough to keep trying, resolving within myself not to look back but to keep my eyes on the prize -- that blasted laptop.
Meanwhile, I think I lost my face and a few fingers back about 5 feet in the blistering cold, and my toes were somewhere detached in my socks, but I would deal with all that later. I was determined.
About 2 hours and 2 miles later, I arrived at the school, unlocked the door, and lay prone on the snow-free floor trying to unthaw. I finally meandered to my classroom, stuffed the laptop in my backpack, and started the journey back.
I can't remember now if I got my work done, but I did regain my face, fingers and toes, which I guess is a good thing. There's a moral to the story somewhere, but I'll leave that up to you.
Sheryl Green is an independent contractor. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.