There’s no business in snow business this winter.
Look, I love these springlike February days as much as the next pasty-legged jogger. I’m happy not to spend 10 minutes bundling up from hat to gloves just to walk the dog to the curb so she can stand there looking for a place to go potty while I become a human icicle. I like throwing the softball around with my daughter on a warm winter’s day, deluding myself into believing I still might be able to catch a pop fly in the outfield at my age without getting beaned on the noggin.
I don’t miss shoveling snow, sweeping frozen mounds off the cars or pushing vehicles over drifts, through the slush and out of the driveway. There’s a lot to be said for a nice February warm spell.
But I sure wish it would snow. And the window is closing on hoping that wish comes true.
Some folks don’t care much for snow, I know. They’re afraid of slipping and falling, or losing power, or suffering some blizzard-related injury as the memory of that Florida time-share they turned down melts away.
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Parents with kids at home, though, have a more complicated attitude toward snow. We’re flash-frozen in the icy purgatory between dreading and cursing the whole inconvenience of it all and reveling in our kids making snowmen, sledding and throwing snowballs — as long as they’re not throwing them at us. Snowballs hurt old people, especially if they have little bits of gravel or ice in them.
Even parents like a snow day, provided there aren’t too many of them in a row. When that robo-call comes that says “due to the impending weather forecast, all schools will be closed tomorrow,” the children shriek rapturously about not having to go to school, and the grown-ups weep a little about not having to get up at 5 a.m.
“We get to stay home from school!” the children shout.
“We get to sleep in!” the parents think to themselves while sharing knowing glances.
Like I said, snow days are OK in moderation, but if there are too many, the whole deal starts to feel less like a vacation and more like a hostage situation. You expect to see satellite news trucks park outside as a TV reporter decked out in enough outdoorsy swag to embarrass a snowboarder stands on the sidewalk and grimly says things like, “We’re at Day 12 of the snowbound hostage crisis at the Quackenbush house, where the only noises we’ve heard are the sounds of a woman screaming ‘Why did I cancel Amazon Prime,’ and the only activity we’ve witnessed is the regular arrival of a DoorDash driver three times a day … It’s a tense situation here, Biff. Back to you in the studio!”
So, the plus side of a snowless winter is no family hostage takeovers. And no shoveling, plowing and skidding sideways down the street into your neighbor’s Toyota 4Runner.
But there’s no fun, either. For kids or grown-ups. There’s no sledding down Ghent Hill or over the snow mounds of Fishburn Park. There are no memories of the family dog pulling your 8-year-old daughter on a turtle-shell plastic sled like they’re racing in the Roanoke Iditarod.
No laughing as you watch your kid fly down a hill on her belly, without a sled, like she’s a penguin sliding toward the frozen sea. No snowman-building bonding experiences with your kids, as you show them how to pack snow around the head so it won’t topple off, only to knock the head off anyway.
Snow-less winters are different when you have kids, because every year that you have little or no snow, it’s one less chance you have to make a memory that you’ll really need when they’ve grown up and sledded off to adulthood.
I always felt bad for the kids who grew up in the snow-starved early-to-mid 2000s and didn’t get to experience as many snow days as I did in the 1970s and ’80s. The snowier winters from 2010 onward luckily coincided with my daughter’s elementary-school days when she was able to sled and slide around our neighborhood.
Now that she is in high school, she still wants to see snow, because nobody’s too old for a snow day.
Now, that I’ve written this, we’ll probably be buried in feet of fluff in the coming weeks, just in time for spring.
I don’t want snow then! I don’t want to hide Easter eggs in snow banks or look for a lost wiffle ball in a mountain of drifts. I want my snow in winter and my daffodils in the spring, not the other way around. I want to make snowballs and break out the sleds from hibernation in my garage.
So, come on snow, you’re running out of time. As spring creeps closer, and baseball spring training highlights start showing up on TV, I’m done with winter, snow or no snow. I’ll be snow over it. It’s now or never, snow.
Of course, I’m only asking for the kids’ sake.