Waking up today to witness the beginnings of a snowstorm confirmed for me that this is what retirement is all about. I could stay inside, work on several projects, drink cocoa and not worry about a thing. This is very different from the days when I was working for a school system and someone could ruin my day by saying, “Snow is forecast for tomorrow.” Teachers and school personnel stayed home and only a few of the rest of us felt obligated to go to the office on snow days. Since I lived close, I rarely had an excuse; nonetheless I did not look forward to driving to work on ice and snow. The central office was mostly silent on snow days, except for the ringing of the telephones. Whichever of the administrative assistants was able to get to the office would talk to the callers who were unhappy with the superintendent’s decision — whether it be to close schools or keep them open. I got to talk and return emails to parents who had not been satisfied by merely yelling at a secretary.
My favorite snow day story was a revenge saga, the main characters being the secretary who called substitute teachers early in the morning and one of the teachers she called. The superintendent had made the decision — later in the morning than was practical — to keep schools open. The substitute office received a call at the start of the school day from a high school French teacher who said, “I am not coming to school today because your announcement to keep schools open came so late. I want to teach the district a lesson.” The secretary was furious, since it was nearly impossible to find a substitute French teacher by calling at 5 a.m. when roads were clear, much less at 8 a.m when they were slushy. She didn’t do anything immediately, though. She plotted and waited. Days later it snowed so hard that school had to be closed. She called the French teacher at 4 a.m. and said, “You don’t have to come to work today. Since you were so unhappy about getting a late call last time it snowed, I wanted to make sure you were the first one I called this morning with the good news that you can sleep in.”
PS. Since posting this I have received a request to add a link to Billy Collin’s poem, “Snow Day,” from Sailing Alone around the Room.
And I am pleased not to have to worry about the snow closure decision. Although it used to be funny around our house with all our kid’s friends calling in the morning becuase they knew they could find out whether there was going to be school.
My favorite story was the reporter who was giving us a bad time about closing. We had him ride along while our transportation department checked out the surrounding hills that were covered with snow and ice. He finished the slipping and sliding of the ride white in the face and wrote a lovely apology.