There Are No Days Like Snow Days


photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc
photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

Let me tell you about the Carolinas.

We have Cheerwine. Barbecue. A whole month to commemorate barbecue, in fact. If there isn’t a minor-league baseball team in your town, there’s one in the next. The mountains are that way, the beach the other. Right in the middle ain’t too bad, either.

Did I mention the barbecue?

The Carolinas are loaded with day trips: Asheville, Greensboro, Wilmington north of the line, Greenville, Columbia and Charleston south of it. Mountain apples. Loucountry boil. And a good 12 months of grilling season. If it isn’t God’s country, it’s at least Jesus‘.

So, when you’re a Carolinian, you get an abundance of kick-ass and a surplus of phenomenal. But there’s one thing that’s hard to come by, tougher to get than a parking spot during race week:

A snow day.

I want. a damn. snow day.

# # #

Snowflake - Microphotograph by artgeek

When we lived in Tallahassee, I missed snow days less.

Like Buffalo Bills fans don’t miss the playoffs and vegans don’t miss pork rinds (I presume), it’s out of sight (or recent history) out of mind when you live on the Florida Panhandle, and are more likely to have lizards in your Christmas tree than snow flakes.

Charlotte meteorologists toy with us like a hobo spider does a wounded, well, a smaller wounded spider.

A chance of snow in the “viewing area” prompts news teasers and apocalyptic proclamations leading up to your nightly news. “Find out how much snow YOUR neighborhood will get. Details at 11!”

Which is fine, if your neighborhood is in the mountainous northeast corner of our beautiful state, over the river and beyond the continental divide.

Meanwhile, Carolinians everywhere clear the grocery shelves of bread and grocer’s coolers of milk in what becomes a day of french toast for everyone from Murphy to Morehead City, Belmont to Beaufort.

I’ve forgiven all four NFL coaches who’ve beaten the Denver Broncos in Super Bowls, but the animosity I feel toward one particular Charlotte TV meteorologist is best explained like this: If he was in a parade, in a float with Justin Bieber and the Disney Channel lead kids shows writer, and I had two rotten tomatoes?

I’d throw them both at this meteorologist.

Icicles Partnachklamm rb

So while friends to the north complain of single digit temperatures and mountains of snow to shovel, we get freezing rain that clings to the front end of a fast-moving Pontiac.

While the ground stays frozen above the Mason-Dixon line, below it, we get flooded mud puddles. Where snowmen and igloos sit in your yards, we have water-bogged grass and red clay mud that comes out after approximately 237 wash cycles.

I’m getting fired up just writing this.

I want to build igloos with my kids.

Snowmen, even. Maybe put a dodgers cap on one and launch ourselves at him in a four-person sled. I want to shovel a drive, lob snowballs at my neighbors’ cars, write my name on a snow bank.

Even dot the “I” in Eli.

As a Colorado kid, I grew up with snow as my winter companion, more dependable than the Nuggets defense and tougher to negotiate than the last tortilla.

Blizzards nearly ruined one Halloween when I was a kid, another kept me from my first pro baseball game and yet another prevented my Uncle Keith from taking us to a Denver Broncos matchup against the San Diego Chargers. Uncle Keith still wanted to go.

Uncle Keith: Hey, we’re going to the Broncos game anyway.

Aunt Sandy: The hell you are!

Schneemann 03

With all this heartbreak and setback associated with the white stuff, you might wonder why I’d want some more of it in my life now. You’d think the one kid from Colorado who can’t play nice with a snow-slope tow-rope wouldn’t mind Carolina’s sunny Christmases.

I want my kids to have snow memories, too, like we did. Football games on an icy street, imitating our NFL heroes on a frozen tundra. Hot cocoa and warm pajamas after playtime in the snow. The way only a roaring fire can warm you after a snowstorm practice.

On that rare Carolina snow day, if you stop to use the loo before you play in the snow, you might miss it.

Sleep in, and another kid will track up your meager half-inch of powder before you can wipe the sleep out of your eyes, and you’ll be left with that muddy near-snow that does nothing for sledding and everything for Tide with Bleach.

I told Grace I wanted snow days so we could feel our fingers get numb and our noses run clear, then come in for hot cocoa, a hot shower and the comfiest sweatpants after a full day of play.

I want her to remember those days.

“I do, dad,” she said.

“Remember, when we made snow angels, and you’d pick us up out of the snow so our feet and our hands wouldn’t mess up our angels?”

Bybyhandschuhe 2011 PD 05

I’d almost forgotten, I’m so busy complaining.

We might not have the ย snow days as MIchiganders. Maybe the snowfall totals here aren’t what you’d get in Maine or Massachusetts or Nova Scotia.

But when we get the chance of snow here in Carolina, we’ll be sure to have plenty of milk and bread.

We’ll be sure to get to the hill first.

We’ll be sure to stay home from work if school is cancelled, because, of course.

I wouldn’t really hit that wayward meteorologist with a pair of tomatoes.

But I’d heave a mean snowball at him.

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82 thoughts on “There Are No Days Like Snow Days

  1. Ya’ll get on out to St. Louis. We got snow, football, baseball and internet so you can keep writing these amazingly poignant and entertaining blog posts, Eli!

    1. I’ve also heard of toasted ravioli from St. Louis – have you had this? I could deal with Matt Holliday and Sam Bradford for the sports scene, and someplace to hook up my laptop.

      When the Rockies and Broncos come to town, though (or even the Carolina Panthers), all bets are off!

      Thanks Jennifer!

      1. Google STL+ The Hill for ravioli and all things Italian. Rams vs Broncos would be veryfun indeed!

      2. Just seeing that makes me want to root for your Rams. Every Super Bowl, my family and my sister’s family make the cuisine from both teams’ regions.

        So, about this time of year, we see playoff matches as Bratwurst vs. Chinese food as Packers vs. 49ers.

  2. Come visit us in NY and we will probably be getting some snow again anyway now. Seriously, I would love not to have to worry about the white stuff and am longing for spring right about now!

    1. My kids would pack the car and wear the pajamas inside-out (did you know this is a trick to get it to snow?) today for that chance. They will all root vigorously against the yankees, though.

      I’m kind of conflicted because I’m ready for spring, too, and spring training, because the Rockies are technically tied for first place with a 0-0 record, but I would also like a snow storm to sock us all in for bowl games.

      I want it all.

  3. I feel for ya brother – I LOVE the snow and snow days and enjoying all of those things with the boys. If it makes you feel any better – we’ve been getting rain, rain and more rain. It sucks big time. Hoping for snow this Thursday ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I’ve placed disc golf twice in the snow and felt all bad-ass. A boy never grows out of playing in the snow – or this one at least. You’re right, winter rain isn’t much fun, for disc golf or running. What chance at snow do you have?

      We’ll put a spoon on the window sill for you (another old trick for bringing on the snow).

  4. We had snow just in time for Christmas here, but there are very few snow days in our area. Even when I lived in Minnesota, there were very few snow days. Places that get a lot of snow can cope with it. So, have faith, you’ll get snow eventually and you’ll get a snow day.

    1. God should designate one good snow day per winter for everyone north of Palm Beach. You make a good point: In Colorado, snow was plentiful, but you had to have zero visibility to get a snow day.

      So, then you had to drive in it anyway!

      This winter, something will get thrown, snow balls or tomatoes. It’s up to Jesus which.

  5. Oh, I love a snow day! We usually get at least one a school year. We have had one already, and would have had another one (or two) had they not fallen on a weekend. Perhaps this bodes well for the rest of the winter. Hope you get to toss a few snowballs this winter, Eli!

    1. Snow days do rock. One a year is not too much t ask. Weekend snow days definitely don’t count, because you have to have school or work to miss for the right effect.

      You also should be able to transfer a snow day to a friend in a warmer climate, like, through Amazon Prime, or something.

      Toss a few for me if it stays all balmy here, would you Kim?

  6. We get those mud puddles during Mud season, which is during the big thaw in between Winter and Spring here in Maine. We’ve got it all right now, snow, ice, bitter cold. I wouldn’t trade it in for the world though. Long johns and hot chocolate get me through! I hope you get a good snow day before winter’s end. Just be sure to stay off the roads. I’ve seen how they “treat” the roads in the south!

    1. I love the idea of mud season actually – especially if we got to play soccer tournaments in it. Am I a fool to want icy roads for a day – to not drive on?

      I’ll live vicariously through you, because at least I got to shop today wearing shorts. But I would have rather needed to wear thermal underwear.

      Driving on ice in the south should be a sport. Well, a blood sport.

    1. The only time I loved ice was when I drove on I-40 West to Morganton one morning, at sunrise, and it lit up in the sunlight behind me. It’s gorgeous to behold; suicide to drive on.

  7. I miss snow days too. I grew up with snow and snow days, but in the city, we get more slush than snow (and lately enough freezing rain to drown and bury a full grown moose), and our school board refuses to ever close the schools. Last year, I declared a snow day and as the snow piled up to my hips, I was glad I did! The high is around -13C today and I’ll be sure to romp in it on your behalf, provided I can break through the crust first! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. A Canadian missing snow days? Slush doesn’t have the same effect, does it? Ours is a dead-end street that doesn’t get treated, so if it’s too slick … I’d do the same and declare a snow day for my own kingdom.

      -13 C – Google tells me that’s 8.6 F. Now that’s football weather!

  8. I would Gladly send you some of mine if I could ๐Ÿ˜‰
    It is minus 30 C here today (that’s -22 for you)….and that’s just too damn cold to do anything. Except of course swim. which is what we’ve got planned for fun today. because of course.
    indoors, of course.
    and since we can’t make snow angels, or Frosty because the snow Is Hard!!
    We will walk to our local swim centre, and then walk back and our hair ends will freeze with little icicles that ring if you shake your head really hard. And our eyelashes might freeze a bit as we rush into the wind to get home to the fireplace. where we will thaw just like Frosty.
    Then tomorrow – skating!!
    outside, because it is supposed to be only minus 20 tomorrow ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. There should be a way to distribute the snow evenly across all parties, like socialism for snow. What do you Canadians do when it’s like this?

      At first, I thought you guys did the polar bear thing. But … indoors! I remember walking to school and having the wisp of mustaches my mates and I grew at age 12 taking on a few ice particles. Made us feel tough.

      At minus 20 … do you bother with scarves and mittens?

      1. My brother in law and his wife actually start each New Year with a polar bear dip. I have done it in the past too. But there was a well warmed up sauna nearby back then. It pays to have a Finnish best friend.
        What did we do? We went sledding of course.
        And I believe the term you are searching for is “balaclava”. ๐Ÿ˜‰
        And my gloves and boots are good to minus 50.
        They ain’t for fashion baby. LOL

  9. We have a Nor’Easter brewing for Friday up here in MA. I think I’d prefer lizards in my Christmas tree. Luckily for me I’m going to Florida in a few weeks. It’s nice to get the best of something else, when you’re in what is considered to you the worst of what you have at home.
    I despise winter.
    You make it sound nice, though.

    1. We get nothing called a Nor’Easter in these parts – just “daang, it’s cold!” The lizard was a pretty cool touch, and part of me wishes I didn’t discover it in the trunk of the car, but maybe as we were stringing lights (would have made for a better blog).

      Like the curly-haired girls want straight hair and the short dudes want to be tall, the snow is always whiter on the other side of the fence.

      And where do the moose go in summer?

  10. i loved this post, eli and understand completely. even the ‘dotting the i in your name’ part. i plan to spend the next two days in the cold and snow to watch the wings games outdoors and it will only add to the experience. there are also days when i long for the mild climates but i love the snow experience each year too. by the way, as a teacher, snow days are the best!

    1. Thanks Beth! Wait, there’s no “I” in Beth. There’s a T to cross, though.

      I’m rooting hard for the Leafs, because my hatred of the wings trumps my American pride. Sad but true. You get summer up there in Detroit, right?

      I think teachers should get a pizza and/or shot of rum for each snow day, as a courtesy.

  11. All you made me want to do is move to the Carolina’s. And have BBQ. Lots of it. Snow in STL is weird. The kids may get off school but it’s never enough for your boss to turn a blind eye at you not being there. I’d prefer it fall until my 4’10” body couldn’t be found or not at all.

    Enjoy any snow you may get with your kiddos!

    1. I’d miss the Carolinas way more than I’d miss the snow. Eastern NC barbecue – the vinegar-based stuff – that’s it right there.

      Bosses were like that when I was in journalism – I usually got stranded at work, and had to stay at a nearby hotel, which feels cool for a minute – until you realize you have no clothes to sleep in and nothing to wear the next day when you have to get right back to work.

      4 feet, 11 inches of snow … that’s enough for a couple of igloos, and a search party for good bloggers lost in the blizzard.

      Pajamas inside out and spoons on the windowsills until I get what I want!

  12. It really depends on the year, but we’re subject to quite a few snow days in Northeast Tennessee, although most of them are false alarms and a waste of salt on the roads. I’m sure the grocery stores don’t mind though! The winter Bean was born was a big snow year, and I have tons of pictures of us taking her for walks in the snow. We’d strap her into the Baby Bjorn and then put our winter coats on over her. Her head was covered with a pink knitted cap, so you could just see her face peeking out. Adorable! Fingers crossed for a decent snow day stretching from here to Charlotte this year!

    1. You’re like Boone and Blowing Rock on steroids where you are, Nicole. I suspect when the dairy and wheat markets are down, there’s a little deal made with meteorologists to help pep up sales with a little winter threat.

      (I also think NFL officials conspire to get Tom Brady and Joe Flacco into the playoffs any way they can, but that’s for another post).

      See, you’ve conditioned Bean to become the next great female musher in the Iditarod. Elise was just 4 months old when we swaddled her tight for a sub-freezing St. Patrick’s Day parade in Asheville … I wonder if that did the trick.

      I know you can’t wait to keep the kids home for a day while you work, right?

      1. Work while my kids are at home with me? Hilarious and pretty much impossible. Snow and sick days mean clearing my calendar, playing referee in the morning, piling into the car for lunch at Chick-fil-a, and lots of prayers tossed up for longnaps. In summation, I don’t get a damn thing done! I don’t mind playing hooky with the girls every once in a while, but when the snow days start to pile up, minus the snow, it becomes a bit problematic!

      2. Maybe a mini wrestling ring would be ideal for a day like that … just suit them up, toss them in, and get after that to-do list for work. Break for lunch, allow for nap time, and do it all again in the afternoon.

  13. i LOVE snow. A nice, steady snowfall stops us and makes us listen and observe…and oh yes, get excited about bundling up and going out to play! I am hoping for a nice snowstorm here in Virginia! I enjoy listening to the children in the neighborhood as they scream with delight and I love being a part of the groups of neighbors who work together to shovel each others’ driveways and sidewalks! The snow seems to bring lots of goodwill!! I do hope you get your snow day, Eli!

    1. Me too. That last day I got to play disc golf in the snow, I was the only one on the course, and there’s this silent reverence you find when the only sound is of your breath and the flakes finding leaves and ground and of course, your disc’s clank of chains in the basket (or off the side of the basket, as was my case a few times!)

      It can be like a community holiday. When none of us are going anywhere, we can take our time doing it.

  14. My last snow day was in Edmonton, Canada in 2003. I was visiting for Xmas, absolutely no shortage of snow at all. Prior to that it was 1960 in th UK. I enjoyed it but I’m used to the hot weather for the season and warm rain, Snow angels are good though. Great post again Eli.

  15. And I thought Texas had it worse than just about anybody! And we’ve already had TWO snow days! (sorry, not bragging. Plz don’t hate). The thing with Texas is it’s so unexpected and freaks everyone out so bad, that if there’s any chance of ice on the roads (bad visibility or not) schools are called off. So we pray for ice! I’ve been pleasantly surprised that in the past four years we’ve only had one go by without a single snow day. Quite shocking for this area, but I LOVE SNOW DAYS TOO. They are the BEST. And you’re right. Boys never grow out of playing in the snow. I’m the one fussing over gloves/hats/boots, and readying the hot chocolate. Dad is out there with them ALL day. He has just as much fun as our sons.

    A teacher told my 6yo the secret to making sure it snows is to go to bed with your underwear on backwards and a spoon under your bed. Jes sayin…….might be worth a try……

    1. Except for NFL playoffs, it’s always bigger in Texas. Once when we were sledding, I took a particularly sick run down the slope, caught some wicked air, and wound up spread eagle at the bottom of the hill.

      I didn’t want to move at first, but the sight of four vultures circling above me got me to move. (They looked like they were in the mood for something spicy).

      We boys do love to play in the snow, but we’re more likely to forget socks. Or gloves. Or to go to the bathroom before we bundle up.

      I’ll try the underwear on backwards approach, but please keep in mind “Yoda” spelled backward is “a-DOY!”

  16. I like a good snow day too – the problem is they usually turn into a few snow days in a row. Then school is extended in June, which just stinks for everyone. We’ve already had a few this year – at this rate the kids will be in school until July!

    1. In high school, we lost our entire Spring Break because the schools were closed a week because of Hurricane Hugo. We had a protest of almost a dozen students.

      What’s worse than going to school on a snow day? Going to school when you’re ready for summer.

    1. And north! Temperatures here are going to plunge into the lower 40s in the coming days. Snow for the mountains, cold for us. I couldn’t bring myself to take a blogging vacation. I just couldn’t.

  17. Having lived in the desert of So Cal I know what you mean. Thankfully I live in the high desert and we do get snow here but usually only enough to last two or three days and we are back to the desert! Thanks for following my blog!

      1. Oh yes! in California we usually have a very slim chance. I grew up in the LA basin. In 6th grade it snowed and we all got let out of class to go out into it. I lived down there until the late 80’s and it never snowed again It did not stick and looking back it could have been hail. I never saw a good snow storm ever… now that is kind of sad.

  18. I can totally understand what you are saying about the weather there! That muddy rain sounds strange! I grew up in NJ so we had all 4 seasons and lots of snow in the winters. Now we live in Arizona (the very southwest most part) and we get no snow now. Me and my husband really hate snow so this works well for us. Have you guys ever thought about moving? We adapt to change really easily so moving from NJ to AZ was really easy for us. I know not everyone can make a move like that so fast or easily. I can’t believe you grew up in Colorado and that’s right next to us. I was thinking though if we did want my son to experience snow we could just travel about 3 hours to northern Arizona near your home state and he could experience it there ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I’m not asking for a months-long deep freeze – just a day or three of a good snow dump, like what the northeast is about to get socked with today.

      There are movies to be watched. Sweatpants to be warn. Pancakes to make.

      I love it here in Charlotte too much to consider a move, but I think I will schedule a mountain getaway to coincide with a snowy forecast. Get caught there on purpose.

    1. I talk funny and love the Broncos, but I don’t eat Grape Nuts for breakfast or anything. Born and raised in Greeley, 1971-1988. Why does the DC snow suck? Maybe it’s political.

  19. Eli, I love this post! As I’m reading it, the snow is pouring down at my house. We were supposed to get rain all afternoon that was supposed to turn to snow overnight, but somehow we got lucky. We are in a section of Virginia that usually gets the dreaded “icy mix.” Having grow up on the other side of the state where we got lots and lots of snow every year, and then living in Utah and Colorado the first few years we were married, I miss regular snowfalls! You made me smile so much while reading this! Thank you!

    1. Thanks Debbie! I love it when the weatherman is wrong … we got socked one year after they said there was nothing coming, then went on the air live to track it like they knew it all along.

      Icy mix makes for horrible snowmen and even worse driving conditions. Just, that pure, quiet snowfall, no ting of ice, that’s where it’s at.

      Smack someone with a snowball for me?

  20. p.s. i feel cheated right now, we’ve had 2 days of blizzards and both snow days but i’m already on vacation. guess i should not complain, but there is something special about a snow day )

  21. I’ve never lived where there wasn’t snow in the winter so I think doing so would throw off my perception of time somehow. I wonder if that makes it harder for kids to relate to the image of the holidays being a snowy wonderland when all they see when they look out the window is grass.

    1. Growing up in Colorado, I felt as if part of the winter should be spent under a sheet of ice, and part of summer should be with highs in the triple digits.

      My girls have never experienced a white Christmas – at this point, I think they’d settle for getting to play soccer in the snow!

  22. Growing up in southern California, I NEVER thought I’d spend my adult life in Michigan. Where it snows. Like 5 months out of the year. And while it’s annoying, it’s also real, and wintry, and annoying, and beautiful, and annoying, and awesome, all at the same time.

    1. Does it even rain in Southern California (or am I just listening too much to song lyrics?) Your Michigan time is probably taking into account the snow you missed in SoCal.

      Beautiful and annoying … that’s the perfect way to put it, actually. I’d like to be annoyed by some snow soon.

  23. Where I work, we still don’t have snow days. And apparently we got 6 inches yesterday. Go figure. Normally I am a grinch who hates the snow; however, this last time, the snow got all stuck in the trees and it made it so beautiful that even I had to take off my glove, pull out my phone, and snap a picture.

    1. It took us less than half an inch to get two snow days. You just live too far north, that’s all. Alabama and Georgia were officially the ends of the earth that week.

      Will that totally-worth-it photo make it to your blog?

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