/An obituary for the snow day

An obituary for the snow day

By Chad Ingram

As I write this, buses in the county and elsewhere within the Trillium Lakelands District School Board have been cancelled due to inclement weather and road conditions.

Buses have been cancelled, but with the digital, at-home learning environment fostered by the COVID-19 pandemic, school is still on. In fact, it stands to reason that the elimination of snow days will be one of the many legacies of the virus. Too dangerous for buses to run? Get on the computer and fire up the Google Meet, kids.

And so let us pause for a moment of silence, a moment of reflection, on what is very likely the demise of the hallowed snow day, at least as it once existed.

Snow days were a silver lining of winter for Canadian kids; the constant chance that with enough of a dumping, you’d get a random day off school. They could come at any time, and that was part of their magic; an unanticipated bit of freedom in the middle of the week, or, maybe at either end, for an unanticipated long weekend. If you were the gambling type and there was a big snowstorm happening, perhaps you didn’t even bother completing your homework for the following day.

Remember the feeling? The relief, the unmitigated joy. For a kid, a day, a whole day, can seem like quite a bit of time, too.

For those of my vintage and beyond, you of course didn’t turn to Facebook or Twitter to find out if it was a snow day. You either turned on the television to a local cable station, or tuned into the radio. That’s the way it worked at our house, my sister and I turning on the Lindsay radio station the morning after a snowstorm. At that point, bus cancellations came less frequently in large swaths, with buses often still cancelled by route. So, like someone holding a lottery ticket, you waited anxiously for your bus number to be called out. Then, when it was, complete exaltation, and you told your mom, “I told you so!” Or maybe that was just me.

Your books stayed in your bag, and you went outside. For my sister and me, that typically meant snow forts in the yard, and tobogganing on the hill at our grandparents’ farm, located just up the street. It meant games of road hockey with other neighbourhood kids. I remember freezing rain once leaving our street so thickly coated in ice that kids were actually skating on it. Our street was also located on a hill, so, in retrospect that was wildly dangerous. Memories.

Snow days meant coming back into the house, your socks and pants soaked, throwing your wet clothes by the fireplace before having some hot chocolate and watching a movie to recuperate. 

Snow days were magnificent. May they rest in peace.