Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

It Is Time For Snow

Growing up in Eastern Pennsylvania, I feel that I saw my fair share of winter snow.  I cannot tell how much we got every year, but there are countless photos of me playing in the snow with my sibling.  One year, we clearly had enough snow that we could buil a huge igloo/cave couresty of those red plastic snow brick makers.  Of course back in the day, before we worried about car seats and seat belts or bike helmets, we also built our snow forts in the streets often between parked cars.

If you lived in the northeast your entire life, the chances are pretty good that you grew up hearing the tales from your grandparents of the struggles of getting to school in the winters, walking miles upon miles, uphill and downhill, and of course, barefoot through snow waist deep.  There were no such thing as snow days.  “Kids today.  They’re so spoiled.  They don’t know how good they have it.”  Sound familiar?

For those of us who attended school in the Allentown School District, you know what I am about to say is true.  The distance from my home near South Mountain Junior High School to William Allen High School was around four miles.  It was definitely up hill no matter which way, and across this huge bridge at 8th Street.  Our school district also happened to be one of the only districts without school bus service.  To get to school, we either walked, had mom or dad drive us, or took public transportation (which actually took longer to get to school than walking).  So guess what?  There was no such thing as a “snow day”.  It took a blizzard on February 11, 1983 for me to remember an actual “snow day” resulting in the schools closing.  Of course, the local Catholic schools would close at the sight of the first snow flake.

At 46 I occasionally bring this story out as a joke amongst friends, but really have no intention of using it as a tool with my daughters.  As a parent I definitely have a different outlook as I wait for their school bus to pull up as it is more than 20 minutes late, sidewalks flooded with slush and the streets appearing very icy.  The weather forecast had called for the snow/rain mix and my faith was in the girls’ bus driver as the district chose not to release the children before road conditions got bad.

Normally I would be excited to see the white precipitation.  Just a month ago, Madison actually asked about learning to ski.  I have not been on my skis since before we adopted the girls, and since my heart surgery, really thought I would never hit the slopes again.  My skis have been stowed in the closet upstairs since the day we bought the house, me being afraid to push myself with an adrenaline rush swooshing down snow covered mountains.  For Madison, I need to relive those times way back when I walked through three feet of snow, four miles each way up hill and back.  At least the way I tell the stories I had shoes on.

So with our first snowfall today, I opened up that closet door to show Madison my ski equipment.  Her eyes lit up and her excitement was obvious.  All we need now is some more snow.

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