We lost power the night of the thundersnow, February 1st. We snuggled under the blankets and listened to the transistor radio detailing the troubles of the lost souls, and cars, on Lake Shore Drive. It was warm enough and we were sleeping, even with the power — and heat — off. In the morning, as the temperature in our house continued to drop, we decided to head the few blocks through Hyde Park to Hanna and Alex’s house for warmth. A few brave souls were already out clearing the walks, but it was rather a surreal world of white, with snowbanks as tall as Gorilla Girl in the middle of the side streets. We lumbered through snow drifts, chatted about our power loss with neighbors, and finally soaked in the warmth at Hanna’s where she made us her famous sweet potato biscuits for lunch.
Monkey Man and Gorilla Girl entertained themselves and us. Ed trekked back to our house to help our condo mates with the snow removal — a job that took five hours.
We watched the window for signs of snow and plows. The snow storm had cleared for a while on our early morning walk to Hanna’s but by late morning, the sky had darkened and the howling wind was driving a new blanket of snow across Hanna’s courtyard.
By afternoon, Ed had finished snow clearing and the skies, too, had cleared. Walking home from Hanna’s house, in the brief moments of sunshine after the wild blizzard, I found myself wanting to capture every moment of the experience for Monkey Man and Gorilla Girl.
I also wanted to remember how excited they were to be tramping through the snow, slipping along and climbing and falling. The warmth of the sun made our journey home enjoyable, and walking down the middle of 55th Street seemed not at all strange. The occasional car seemed rather out-of-place on the streets — streets that now two days hence still have not been plowed.
Monkey Man in his penguin hat and snow suit wobbled just like the penguin he aspires to. Gorilla Girl climbed, ate snow, and threw huge chunks of snow.
After two days of unexpected time off, I am ready to be back at work. Sacrilege? I baked banana bread and blueberry muffins with Gorilla Girl, went out to clear the thick accumulation of ice from the snow melting down the drainpipes on our back porch, walked to the Produce Store, did some laundry, made dinner, played with the kids, and now I am wondering what else I can do.
The thing about snow days is maybe they make you appreciate the regular duties of work/school days. I know some folks might be pining for one more day off, but I am ready to be back to the steadiness of non-snow days.
The hardship will fall to those who have to drive through the still-yet-to-be-plowed streets of the Southside. Our street is still adrift in snow and is more like a highway for sleds than a street. My trek to work should be relatively easy since I don’t have to travel far.
I wished, hoped and waited for this day (two days, even). The improbable snow day for the school that never closes its door has been a historic moment.
The gift of the snow day is just that — a gift to be savored. But it is in getting back to the meaningfulness of day-to-day that the uniqueness of the snow day has its place.