Snow. Beautiful, sparkling, glistening snow. I like it best when it sparkles in the streetlight late at night. When it is pure and untouched. The Earth seems to fall silent and open her arms to catch it. I have never lived in area that didn’t get snow, and I don’t think I ever will. I would miss it terribly. This winter, my area has seen almost a hundred inches of the stuff. Not all at once, it has spread itself out over several months. The weatherman also said it isn’t done snowing.
We just had a blizzard this week. The wind rattled the window panes and blew the snow every which way it could. I was very much afraid that we would lose power. School was canceled, actually let out early the day of the storm, the county declared a state of emergency and my family and I stayed tucked in our cozy home.
Even though this was a big storm, nothing can compare to the winter I was 9. It snowed long and hard. It snowed for days. Then it snowed some more. I sat in class watching other students get picked up early in the hopes of beating the storm home. Not me. I sat there until the final bell rang. Then I walked home. Squeaking, crunching, shivering. It wasn’t a long walk; I lived four houses away from the school. But still, it was cold.
During that winter, one of the neighbors built the biggest snow fort ever. It was amazing! There were tunnels, rooms, a shelf to stock snowballs and so much more. Unsuspecting neighbor children most certainly got pelted with snowballs before scooping up snow themselves and bombarding us instigators with snowballs. Cold, clean, winter fun.
The school’s playground had so much snow on it the poor people elected to clear the snow (my father and another elder at the church) couldn’t keep it cleared. When they finally got it cleared, there were mountains of snow at least 8 feet high at the edges of the playground. This was the greatest thing ever. At recess, the children ran and played on these mountains.
Now one would think that by the time April rolled around, all of us would be sick and tired of the snow and cold. Nope. Not Anthony. He was my friend, a cute little boy that lived down the street on the next block. He and I sat in class one day that Spring trying to pay attention but not succeeding (we had to sit at the front of the class and I mean at the front, so Mr. Breunger could keep an eye on us. We were usually the ones caught retaliating when the other students picked on us).
“I don’t want to come to school tomorrow,” said Anthony. “I wish it would snow again.”
“Well,” I said, “isn’t your birthday tomorrow? You could pray and ask God for snow as your present. My mom did that once.”
“Would you pray too?’ he asked.
Anthony and I agreed to pray for snow. Enough snow to close school as his present from God for his birthday. In April. We got snow! Anthony got his present. School was closed for the umpteenth time that year and Anthony had a ball playing in the snow for his birthday. In April. All because 2 fourth graders prayed for it.
Years later Anthony was shot and killed in his nephew‘s car at a stoplight. An innocent victim of gang violence. He was home from college for the Holidays. I have never forgotten him and I think of him whenever my children wish for a snow day from school. When I tell them to pray and ask for it, I am thinking of Anthony and our prayers. Snow and snow days seem a little more special to me because of Anthony.