After a very long Christmas break, our four children returned to school. It has been a weekly series of starts and stops since then. They were out for a couple of days due to illness in the district. The district where they attend school has struggled with having enough bus drivers, food service employees and substitute teachers when staff members are out sick. We are now on round two of snow and ice days. I think the kids have only gone to school one full week since they returned from the break. Is that possible?
There is no greater thrill for school-age children during the winter months than a surprise snow day. Mid-January, the local meteorologists were calling for a round of ice and snow. I kept dismissing the forecast thinking it would pass over us. During school pick up time that first afternoon, large snowflakes and icy sludge began to pour from the sky. I was on the east end of Fayetteville and decided I should get home quickly with the one child I had picked up from her school. The other kids had ridden the bus home. Thankfully, she’s a funny kid because we were stuck on the road getting home for almost two hours that night. She entertained me the whole way.
As we approached Round Mountain, we kept a safe distance behind the car in front of us as it was struggling to climb the gradual hills. My daughter noted there was a terrible smell coming from the car. The car had spun its tires so much trying to make the climb and a tire had been blown. As the driver eased onto the side of the road, we stopped to check on them. The woman explained her grandson lived close by and could come get them in his pick-up. I waited to make sure her phone had service so she could call him. I gave her my phone number and told her we had a tractor if they needed it.
We made it home and I was so relieved. My husband had made dinner and we were starving after the long trek in the ice and snow. Later that evening, the woman we had stopped to check on while on the road called to let me know they had gotten home safely. I was relieved for them.
The next day, our children took full advantage of the thin blanket of snow. They are all old enough and responsible enough (mostly) to drive the 4-wheeler and RTV. I walk out to the porch and check on them occasionally to see what they have gotten into. When I went to check on them that afternoon, our oldest daughter was pulling our oldest son around in an old wheelbarrow bucket behind the 4-wheeler. The laughter that emanated from the front yard was contagious. It made me laugh too. I’m blessed to have such funny and creative children.
Wintery weather seems to drag on and on for most of us who must get out and feed livestock and break water. The short days can wear on us. Snow and ice days are always a blessing. These are purposeful days that force us to take a break from our busyness and think about someone or something else. Don’t misunderstand, I am looking forward to spring and garden season. During these cold winter days off from school – I enjoy sledding, a warm fire and checking in on some of you, my neighbors.
Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’