“Getting an inch of snow is like winning ten cents in the lottery” ~ Bill Watterson
Many years before schools around the country would close for months at a time because of the insane COVID-19 pandemic, I remember when I was a kid we had snow days. This was in a simpler time when the grocery stores still carried toilet paper and Purell and no one had a smartphone.
I grew up in a snowy forest. I remember snow days, real snow days where the school would be canceled for a week because we would get four feet of snow in one storm. Our rural mountain back roads would not be plowed for days and when we ran out of milk and eggs my brothers and I would walk the two miles, yes, uphill, to the tiny local grocery store with my mom. My little brother was four years old when we started these voyages out in a blizzard to stock up on staples. Growing up shoveling snow at eight years old, helping to chop wood and walking in a blizzard with the family to get food for the week ahead, one would think that as an adult I would hate wet, snowy dreary weather.
It’s the absolute opposite. I live for gloomy rainy days. Even better if it’s snowing for days! I love it even more if we are trapped at home with our herd of cats and no power for a week! Okay, maybe that is a bit excessive but any chance I get, as an adult to enjoy a snow day, drinking Bailey’s and coffee in front of a roaring fire, reading a good book and baking delicious gluten-free concoctions like this I take full advantage of. Of course, this was all before the Coronavirus took over the world and families were self-quarantined for months. As much as I do love being at home all the time, I do miss going to my job at the racetrack, snuggling with horses, teaching people how to bet on the ponies and gong out for sushi in the city after work.
Growing up in a blizzard
Back in the eighties and nineties, snow days in our family were not always fun. Our family usually owned two or three snowblowers and normally none of them worked. So that means as soon as it stopped snowing the kids were expected to shovel out our plethora of broken down nineties vehicles. Because obviously dad wanted a choice between driving the Bronco which had four-wheel drive but wouldn’t pass smog or the tiny two-wheel-drive Honda Civic that he refused to put tire chains on, evading the local cops by driving down the snowiest back roads and often walking home when he got stuck in a snowbank. Why we couldn’t leave the Civic buried in a snowbank until June, I will never know. Where I lived in the rural southern California mountains we also would receive more snow than any other area in our mountain area. Some areas of our mountain town would get a few inches of snow in a storm and our neighborhood would get a foot and a half of snow. So, yes, there were so many years that we still had so much snow in June.
I grew up loving rainy snowy weather because some times on rainy California days our family would go on spur of the moment Disneyland trips. It was perfect for my parents; My dad could have the fun of outrunning the law in his two-wheel-drive Honda Civic with no chains on it, plus us kids would not have school if the roads were too dangerous for the school buses to drive. (But of course, dad was fine driving around in his two-wheel-drive Honda) We would pack the entire family, both my parents and three kids in the tiny car with a giant bag of frozen Burger King Whoppers which we would then shove into the lockers at Disneyland and inhale at lunchtime six hours later. Anyone for a slimy freezer burnt salmonella burger? (My mom swore she didn’t remember the salmonella burgers when I brought this up recently. I think she has blocked out that traumatic memory.) I’m not too worried about my immune system surviving COVID-19 because if I survived Whopper-Fest in 1992 my body can survive anything.
My brother went to college eventually to be a screenwriter and now he works construction and loves it. I have been telling him for years we should write a sitcom about our family. As we all sit around during this pandemic binge-watching Netflix, it would be so much better than all that shit on t.v. today. The late John Candy would have been perfect to play the eighties version of our dad, but now that dad’s older, a grandpa, and has lost one hundred pounds by doing keto and plus he does get a haircut every now and again, my brother thinks that he would cast Peter Boyle as dad.
My brother thinks a younger Steve Buscemi should play him but I can’t see Steve Buscemi as a construction worker who loves hard cider and kitty cats.
My brother says Tina Fey would play me because she makes the best poop jokes, and let’s face it, we are both an expert at the eye roll.
My brother says he would cast Francis McDormand circa Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as Mom. Francis McDormand’s frazzled self in that movie totally portrays Mom, putting up with dad’s shenanigans since 1977 (Hey, remember that time he bought a used cop car and then invited Homeless Doug to live with our family for three years!) My parents had to get rid of the used cop car last year after a family of rabid raccoons moved in.
Some people may be heartbroken when the power goes out or they are quarantined at home for days. My childhood growing up in a snowy winter wonderland with my quirky family prepared me for this. I am the kind of person who is never ever bored. There is always a good book to be read, a sitcom about our family to write or a snowy hiking trail to explore.
Living through brutal snowstorms like hopefully we will see in our mountain town this week, gets people thinking, how on earth will you charge your iPhone or get on the WiFi if the power is out for four hours or half the day? Having no electricity for a few hours is a great reason to bake, catch up on that new book you just bought, or play board games with family. A snowy power outage is even better with a Bailey and Coffee or similar Pumpkin Spice White Russian Coffee.
Spoiler alert; I may just be sipping on a Bailey’s and coffee right now as I write this, quarantined in our backyard with the dog, at least three cats and loving life in this snowy Coronavirus self-quarantined winter wonderland.