Snow days

I don’t understand people who complain about weather-related school closings. It’s something I’ve questioned since I was a kid.

I distinctly remember my father bringing me to St. Mary’s of the Assumption, colloquially St. Mary’s of the Holy Ass, one day. My school was in Scranton, but I lived in the Riverside School District. Riverside was closed that day, but my father was convinced St. Mary’s (of the Ass.) would be open.

As we skidded and dovetailed through South Scranton, my father kept saying, There’s no snow on the ground, why have schools canceled? The fact that there wasn’t a car on the ice rink of Cedar Avenue apparently offered him no clues. He pulled into the school’s parking lot, also empty, and sent me on my way. It was clear there was no school. But he was hearing none of it. So I hauled my book bag up the hill toward school as he drove away.

Now, I don’t want to give you the impression my father was a cold man who just left his fifth grade kid alone in the middle of a city, even if he did exactly that. My old man was a loving father who read to me nightly, supported any endeavor I attempted, and was always there for me.

Unless there was a threat of a two-hour delay or school closing. Then he went from Jonathan Kent to E. Scrooge.

So I made my way toward the school doors. They were, of course, locked.

I do t remember exactly what happened next, but I ended up spending an hour or so playing with some classmates who lived nearby and were gathering in the parking lot. After awhile, one of the sisters came out. She knew I wasn’t from the neighborhood and dragged me inside to call home.

My father, who himself was home from school, was not incredulous. What had I been doing? Why didn’t I call first? When I hung up the phone, Sister asked why my father didn’t notice the lack of kids, teachers and cars in the parking lot. As if I was supposed to know.

I share this story because I could vent about the kids having no school because of the cold weather tomorrow. I honestly don’t understand that impulse. I find it quite goofy. Like a grown man in the 1930s lamenting that his son and daughter didn’t have to work in the mines.

It’s a sign of progress that the safety of the kids is given a priority. Yes, I’m well aware that some of these decisions are financially motivated as well. No district wants a lawsuit.

But maybe, just hear me out here, it wasn’t very wise to send kids to school in bad weather before.

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