Having come from the Midwest, where they measure snow by the foot rather than the inch, I must admit that I had to make a few adjustments in my thinking when it came to making decisions on cancelling classes due to inclement weather. After all, the 3 or 4 inches we received overnight would have been thought of as a “dusting” rather than cause for national coverage by the Weather Channel and the Today Show. I really had to go back to my Virginia roots and remember that a similar snow when I was growing up would have been enough to cancel school for a week.
I don’t know about other businesses or universities, but at Methodist we have the tradition of gathering at the flagpole at 5 a.m. to make the call for the day. This gives each of us time to cover his or her assigned territory to check the roads, and of course we have all used our phones to check the weather patterns. And while the call Tuesday morning was to proceed, by mid afternoon the call had been revised to close at 4 p.m., thus allowing employees to get home before the bad weather arrived and enough warning so our evening students wouldn’t embark for campus. This was then extended yesterday morning to an all-day closing, or what is commonly and excitedly referred to as a “snow day.”
So what does a “snow day” mean to a university campus, where some students have never experienced snow, let alone had a day off because of it? I walked down to the dining hall for lunch today (Presidents who live on campus don’t get snow days) and engaged in a conversation with a few students. One student was from Myrtle Beach and had never been in snow. His friends had been trying to teach him the art of snow ball making, but according to their report, he failed miserably. Another group of students were in search of cafeteria trays (my personal favorite when I was in college), but we no longer use them on campus, so the students were trying to improvise with garbage can lids and other flat surfaces. And some of our international students were just flabbergasted by the fuss that everyone was making over a snow day as much as their first glimpse of snow!
I guess we never get tired of snow days, and that sense of having an unexpected day off, sort of like playing hooky (not that I ever did so). We can sleep in, spend the time catching up on that paper that’s due, or simply search for any nearby downhill slope and play in the snow like we did when we were kids.
Now back to those Midwestern compared to North Carolina winters. I know that here in Fayetteville in a matter of days this cold weather will be behind us, with the promise of spring right around the corner. In fact, our spring sports begin their seasons this coming weekend. Meanwhile, a text message just in from my daughter in Grand Rapids, Michigan: “2 feet of snow and 3 more months of winter.”
I’ll take a day of snow in Fayetteville any time! Tennis, golf, baseball, softball, track, or lacrosse anyone? Go Monarchs!