Commentary

Snow: Schools can't win no matter the weather

asnow@newsobserver.comFebruary 8, 2014 

You may have heard the story of the hard-to-please husband whose wife spent her life trying to please him.

Once, when he was ailing, she asked him what he wanted for breakfast.

He ordered two eggs: one boiled, the other fried. When she brought his breakfast on a tray, he groused, “Can’t you do anything right? You fried the wrong egg!”

Wake Schools’ administrators can appreciate the anecdote. It seems they’re always frying the wrong egg in the view of many hard-to-please critics. This time it was canceling school in the face of dire warnings of an approaching snowstorm.

The weather prophets were wrong. The snow didn’t arrive until after dark, instead of the predicted midday.

Consider another scenario: School officials didn’t cancel classes. The big storm arrived on schedule. Children were killed in a collision on an icy street.

So, the kids do a makeup day on a Saturday or holiday. It’s not the end of the world, you know. In life, all our eggs aren’t prepared to perfection.

Poetic snow

I was skeptical of the forecasts of the storm’s predicted ferocity from the beginning.

Usually, a heavy snow is preceded by the arrival of a flock of juncos (snowbirds). On the eve of the snowfall, only one junco was hanging around our bird feeders. Remember, one junco does not a blizzard foretell.

It was not like the snow described in Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”:

“Our snow was not only shaken from whitewash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely white-ivied the walls and settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunderstorm of white, torn Christmas cards.”

In dog house

This observation comes from Jimmy Cox of Raleigh:

“On Jan 26 you wrote that your neighborhood is going to the dogs and you asked, ‘How many dogs does it take to satisfy one family? I sometimes see dog lovers being dragged along by three or more dogs.’

“As the proud owner of three wonderful golden retrievers, I ask a similar question: ‘How many kids does it take to satisfy a family? I sometimes see moms being dragged along by three or more kids.’”

Let it be known that I have given my heart to a number of dogs.

Perhaps the best loved was Amazing Grace, a 4-pound black poodle.

On the way home from the veterinarian, where, in the arms of her mistress, Gracie was put down, I pulled the car over and bawled like a baby.

Then there was my older daughter’s dog, Summer Snow, also a poodle.

One winter night, while we were baby-sitting Summer, she escaped from the house and went looking for her mistress.

When I wandered the neighborhood, calling. “Summer! Summer! Summer Snow!” neighbors probably concluded, “Poor A.C. has finally flipped.”

Population boom

Our snowfall provided only a small taste of the punishment Mother Nature has visited on other areas during this particularly vicious winter.

“We’d better brace ourselves,” warned one Raleighite. “Northerners deciding ‘I ain’t gonna take it anymore!’ will be moving to the Triangle in droves. Lord only knows where we’re gonna put ’em! Raleigh’s bursting at the seams and Cary’s spilling over.”

Big sleep

The recent N&O article on how wild animals endure the bitter cold that makes whimpering sissies of many of us humans was very interesting.

I knew, of course, that bears sleep through the winter. I did not know that bears, even old bears, don’t have to get up to go to the bathroom during their months-long snooze.

Wow!

One more rule

In the Atlanta Constitution, Leo Aikman once gave this advice for a happy marriage: Don’t yell at each other unless the house is on fire.

Snow: 919-836-5636 or asnow@newsobserver.com

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