We rarely have a real snow day, anymore. But today, one materialized.

Of course it did. It’s an inconvenience because we’re trying to leave for Chicago tomorrow morning and today was a holiday, so we couldn’t get anything done in terms of going to the bank or doing a post office run and there will be no time for such things tomorrow. The brief window of opportunity we did have will be needed now to make sure we get to the airport in time with bad road and inclement weather conditions.

Snow days used to equal fun. When I was a kid, there was nothing quite as exhilarating as a snow day. The anticipation when it was forecast — would we actually get it? Then staying up late, scanning the skies for trace amounts of precipitation, getting up early to see if our school was closed, or at least on a one-hour late schedule (long before the days of the two-hour delay). And if we were out for the day? Watching it come down, maybe going outside for a little bit of play, then coming back in to hot cocoa and warming up by a wood-burning stove. Those were the days, and I mean that!

Last night, I watched for signs of snow. A few flurries started flying by my 2:00 a.m. bathroom break. When I woke up around 5 a.m., things looked pretty much the same, just a skittering, and I thought, “What a crock, this one’s going to bypass us, too!” I went to my 7 a.m. writing group on Zoom, watching it pepper down a little, but nothing that seemed significant in any way. Then Russ got home and actually made it up the side yard into the back yard in his Cadillac. Which meant the ground had frozen overnight, at least, because Bruce, my trusty SUV, wouldn’t go up the side yard when I got home from January Jumpstart yesterday afternoon.

I had a lot of writing assignments due today, entries for the Poetry Society of Virginia, so I stayed in my office a good bit working on that. And the snow kept falling. More and more steadily. The giant maple I watch year-round outside my window became more and more vividly outlined in white and the ground cover became more impressive. The driveway turned steadily white. Once I’d made all my submissions, I decided a nap was in order. Two hours later, when I woke up, snow fell in heavy chunks from the sky — those fat, fluffy flakes that accumulate quickly. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to give my friend Sara something yesterday while she was at my house, and (fortunately) her daughter lives in Abingdon and could meet me after work to take it to Sara for me. So Russ, being the trooper he is, took me up to Exit 7 to meet the daughter at Target. The roads on the Virginia side were pretty good. But we slid off our hill, and neither of us really thought we’d make it back up our drive — which would be problematic since we still need to pack and haul our luggage out to the vehicle for the trip to Chicago tomorrow morning. We got there and home safely, though, for which I’m thankful, and I closed my eyes and prayed the whole way up our drive. Russ is a man of strong determination and made it right back to where we started from after a couple of tries.

I’m too old to enjoy snow days. That’s what I decided once we parked Bruce and headed back inside. Or, maybe I’ve reached the point where I don’t care one way or another, as long as I can watch it all from inside. (Don’t get me wrong — it was totally my own fault for forgetting to give Sara all her stuff yesterday and I was thankful her daughter could help us out, so I’m not complaining about being out in the snow). But it wasn’t exciting like it used to be. I remember being younger and driving to work in the snow, never being bothered if I fishtailed a little or slid into the next lane on a two-lane road or the four-lane. I can assure you, those days are gone. I’m of an age where just the sound of driving through the slush on the roadways works on my nerves now, never mind the sliding when it happens.

So, tomorrow we leave for Chicago. Which had a wind chill yesterday of -30 degrees. To which I say, I could stay inside and watch the snow for a day or two longer, if given the choice, I suppose. Negative thirty degrees. This Southern girl is about to be shaken, I suspect. We’ll be there almost a week. Some snow is in the forecast there, too. I’ve never experienced “lake effect snow.” Jesus, take the wheel…