Waking up to a WINTER WONDERLAND on Vancouver Island, after just returning from Central America and the Caribbean, might make one think that this was CRUEL! Not so! In fact, it was like waking up to a birthday gift!
After moving to B.C. from the prairies, Mary found SNOW DAYS absolutely fascinating. During her first year of teaching in Horseshoe Bay, a SNOW DAY was declared. Declared, that is, for the students, as it was presumed too dangerous for them to be dropped off at school. She “pooh-poohed” this nonsense until she had to make the drive from Deep Cove all the way out to Horseshoe Bay, including the cut (a very, very steep incline in North Van) to get to her school. There were accidents all over the roads, as vehicles slid and crashed down embankments and into one another. And of course, the moderate climate of the West Coast meant that very little budget existed for the necessary snow removal equipment. Everyone just assumed that the snow would melt by noon and the kids had fun running to the golf courses with their magic carpets and sleds for some tobogganing. The families with SUV’s headed up the local mountains for a day of snow fun on the slopes.
After that first experience of driving into school, she became as traumatized over the snowfall as anyone (Prairie Girl or not!). It wasn’t until a few years later when Mary became a Principal, she realized that she was worse off than everyone else. By that time, new rules had been instituted so that staff were NOT put into any danger if a SNOW DAY was called (usually by 6:00 am.) Sounds good, right? Not so if you are a Principal. Someone had to be at the school bright and early to open up the cold building. Often the custodians didn’t make it in, either. And you had to be outside clearing sidewalks and greeting any students whose parents didn’t get the message that school was closed – DUH! (or they had no other place for their child to spend the day, as they had to make their own journey into work). You get the picture. (The poor little Principal huddled in her office with an electric heater running at her feet, worrying about her trek home at the end of the day…)
How did she manage this? She moved closer to her school so that she could bus and hike up to it, if she had to. We also bought an SUV with snow tires so that she could use it if her husband wasn’t out of town. Her own sons used to pray for SNOW DAYS! Me? – NOT SO MUCH!
Then why, you are wondering, would she be so, so excited about the snow this particular morning? Simply because she was completely free to get outside and play in it, with no responsibilities or worries about getting to and from school on those treacherous West Vancouver mountains.
It was a perfect day to put on her cross country skis and ski down her street onto the golf course and have some fun- after all, she is PRAIRIE GIRL! (Okay, there might have been a couple of quirks to all that glorious freedom and fun, like a sore butt where she hit the concrete on her way DOWN the sidewalk slope to reach the golf course. And the crazy off-leash Springer puppy who just wanted to play with her and wouldn’t return to his parents who were all the way across the course….
Regardless, she’ll be sleeping tonight with a grin plastered on her face. Retirement certainly has its perks.