The Naturalist's CornerWritten by Don Hendershot
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Enough already with the “Enough already!” I know it’s snowing again. Yep school is closed again. I’ve got an idea — call in well.
To paraphrase Blowing Rock’s mountaintop yogi, Tom Robbins, from Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, it would go like this.
“Hi, I haven’t missed a day in three years. It’s a terrible malaise. I’ve come to think that work is all there is. But it’s snowing and there’s no school and my kids are well and I am well and I won’t be in today.”
Now prepare some hot oatmeal. Don’t scrimp on the brown sugar, butter or cinnamon, and if you’re adventurous drizzle a little honey over it. Let the kids pick out their favorite movie and cozy them up in front of the TV.
Now you’ve got 45 minutes or so to get busy. Make a plan. Go ahead and start the hot chocolate. You’ll want it after you come in from your romp in the snow.
If you’ve got a mudroom, great, if not designate an area near one of your doors. We have a great quilt rack that we drag out of our bedroom and put near the kitchen door. It’s great for hanging wet snow clothes on. Oh, and you’ll need extra mats (bathmats) or doormats for the boots.
If you’ve got a fireplace that’s cool, get the troops to help you start a roaring fire. With someone to wad up newspaper and someone to pass kindling and help drag the logs over, a five-minute chore can easily turn into a rousing half-hour “perfect-fire” building seminar.
And you know, while you’ve got em there hypnotized by the flames it’s a great time to whip out Dr. Seuss, or Junie B. Jones or even Tuck Everlasting, get some comfy pillows and read a bit.
Lunch can be leftovers, lunch can be soup, lunch can be PB&J or apples and peanut butter or carrots and dip — something quick and informal. Remember it’s a snow day, we’re flexible today, we’re improvising today and we’re watching through our children’s eyes.
You’ll get outside. It doesn’t matter if it’s before lunch or after lunch. Now you’re outside. This is a critical time. This could be the biggest challenge of your day. You have one charge now and it is diametrically opposed to every parental fiber in your body. What you do now is LISTEN.
“So you don’t want to sled on your $200 Eurosled snowblazer? You want to sit in the snow and throw fistfuls up in the air, OK.
“How about now? Oh, you just want to chase the dog around the yard ...”
Go with it. It’s a snow day and you’re well, remember. And don’t be surprised, if you let em go full tilt for 45 minutes or so then remind them that the hot chocolate is already waiting, it could be time to go inside while there is still some feeling in your toes.
And, with a tummy full of warm hot chocolate, some graham crackers and peanut butter and another “most favorite movie in the whole wide world” cued up, they may not even notice when you slink away and crawl stealthily under the covers.
Which takes us, once again to Yogi Tom, “There are only two mantras, yum and yuck, mine is yum.” – Tom Robbins.
Snow day! Yum!