When to Cancel School.

March 24, 2008

Yesterday was Easter Sunday, and we had a splendid day — first at church, with a special musical program presented by the choir (if I had a photo, you would spot me easily… the Amazon woman standing in the back of the choir loft among all the dainties) — and later at home, with a fun evening of food and games with some very good friends.

It was a pretty enough day, although rather chilly. And as the last of our houseguests left that evening, a light snow was starting to fall. Snow on Easter! Oh, well. As I turned in for the night and saw the light coating of white on the grass outside, I was fearful that we would wake up this morning to Yet Another School Closing in Fayette County, Kentucky (motto: “we are a bunch of snow sissies, oh yes we are”). Please see the list of Haikus in the sidebar to relive some of the frustration we have endured this year regarding school cancellations.

Imagine my delight when I awoke to find that both my boys were already off to school… and my wonderful husband — who shall not be nameless because his name is Glenn and he is the best! — had allowed me to sleep in until EIGHT-THIRTY. That, my friends, is like getting two hours of sleep GOLD. Because we all know that the best sleep to be found is in those morning hours when we are supposed to be getting up, but we just hit the snooze one more time and drop right back in to a REM cycle. Yeah. So I rolled out of bed and proceeded to have a really great day. And Glenn never reads my blog, but I’m telling him now THANK YOU for letting me sleep in today. And also, ladies, he belongs to me. So don’t get any ideas.

I feel like we dodged a bullet this morning when there were no snow delays or cancellations. And on the subject of waking up to great surprises, and also tying in with the subject of school closings, I would now like to present a fine example of when it is OK to cancel school for the day:


These photos were from what I refer to as The Big Snow of ’79. It happened in February, just a few days after my birthday. In fact, it happened on President’s Day that year. The reason I know this is that it happened right on the week when my sixth grade class was scheduled to go to “Outdoor Ed,” which was basically a week-long field trip to a facility where we would sleep in dorms and spend the days learning how to survive in the suburban Maryland wilderness in case our parents accidentally locked us out of the house one day. No really, it was a nifty field trip that was much anticipated by all sixth-graders all year long, and this snowfall postponed it. So I know it happened on President’s Day is because our class was only scheduled for a four-day trip instead of the five days that everyone else got, because we would have missed one day for that holiday. (Turns out we still only got to go for four days when it was rescheduled since we had only been prepared to go for four days. And no, I’m not still sore about it. Why do you ask?)

But I digress.


I don’t remember if I woke up late, or if my Mom woke me up, or what. But I remember leaning out of my bed and looking out my window… and all I could see below was the very top of the fencepost at the corner of our yard.

I still remember the feeling of utter shock. It took a while to process all the emotions going through my head. I had never seen so much snow at one time before… I was trying to grasp the fact that the snow had basically buried the fence between our yard and the one next door. And I was thinking what fun it would be to play in it that day. And I was also thinking that surely it would be gone by Tuesday, so that we could go on our field trip. That is how important Outdoor Ed was! Not something to be missed, even for three feet of snow!


I remember sending our dog, Shadow, out the front door with no leash (not something that would have normally happened) and watching him proceed to burrow a path up and down the street, up to the front doors of many of our neighbor’s houses. He was a black Labrador Retriever, and as he made his rounds, all we could see was the tip of his black tail sticking out above the snowline.

We missed all four days of school that week.

So, here is a rule of thumb for the Powers That Be in Fayette County: If it snows enough that it is hard to find your car… or your mom… or both… then it is probably safe to cancel school for the day.

The author acknowledges that she is a native of Maryland and therefore is not an authority on what “real snow” is. But, she also wishes to point out that even the sissies of the Montgomery County, MD school system never called school on account of rain.




  1. Great writing, even if it is your mom who says so! We know how great Glenn is too! Glad you got to sleep in on Monday…I remember that snowstorm well, and the disappointment we all felt when you could not go to outdoor ed that week. And, being a native of Cleveland, I do know what “real snow is”, and that was a real one.

  2. I noticed the Dart
    Staring at me, dressed in snow,
    Begging me to drive!

  3. How did you get all the good family photos? Gimme. Otherwise I like the blog.

  4. you need to send this to the school board and to Stu. really! They would probably think you doctored up the photos with snow, though.

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