John Alderson

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February 16, 2014
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A rare, rare snow day

There is nothing like an honest to God snow day.

It’s better than Christmas, it’s better than a teacher work day, and it’s better than Easter. There’s just nothing like it.

Contrary to popular belief, we do not have (almost never, just ask my son) snow days in Colorado. When my son was 7, he approached me with a request; “Dad, let’s move to Kansas.”

I looked at him, thinking this was an odd request. But being a creature of curiosity, I said to myself, OK, I’ll bite:

“OK, Teague, I’ll talk to your mother. We’ll sell the house. I’m sure there are plenty of jobs in Kansas, and we’ll move to Kansas. Now, if you don’t mind my asking, why are we moving Kansas?”

“They have snow days in Kansas.”

Hard to argue with that.

Might As Well Stay Put

I’m originally from California, and there aren’t many snow days there. So when Eagle declared its second snow day in 35 years, I didn’t think much of it. It was my day off, and I generally work a second job as a handyman to help pay the bills. Well, the storm came in just as predicted, and the roads were so bad that even I had to take a snow day. I couldn’t get to the houses where I was supposed to work, and there just wasn’t anything I could do about it.

I went home and hung up my car keys. There was no need for me to be out on the road, adding to the problems.

I spent three hours digging out the walkways and drives around the house. It was back-breaking work, but I didn’t mind. I wasn’t going anywhere.

At my side was my five year old granddaughter. She had her own shovel and insisted that she help, even if it meant digging at a snail’s pace under my feet.

The difference between kids and grandkids: When your kids get in the way while you’re trying to shovel, you find something else for them to do so you can finish up. But when your grandkids get in the way trying to help out, you take a deep breath and tell yourself maybe the work you’re doing isn’t so important.

By the time you get to grandkids, you realize these moments don’t last forever, and there are few things in life that are more precious.

I could see my neighbor, Brady, across the street working through his yard with a small snow blower. The wet snow was trying on the little blower. We met in the middle of the street for a powwow.

“You know, this snow is kicking my snow blower’s butt.” Looking up at me and continuing on: “You might as well take a rest. I’ll be back with a skid steer” (heavy equipment front loader).

Let the Big Machines do the Work

Ah, it’s great to have friends with big toys. Sure enough, an hour later Brady drives down the street with a skid steer that was 12 feet high. He had all the parking spaces on the block cleared and open for business an hour later. It’s pretty cool watching one of those big rigs moving through your neighborhood doing whatever it wants. It’s kind of like inviting Godzilla to your barbecue just to watch the carnage.

After that, the grandkids, the dog and I dug the sleds out of the snow and went sledding. Everyone waved and smiled at us as they drove by. It wasn’t a day to be in a hurry and people took notice. There were other kids on the sledding hill. They helped us to make a jump.

We finished the day with some hot chocolate and a game of Monopoly. My granddaughter can’t count money. So when she gets bored with the game, she declares herself the winner. It’s pretty straightforward.

Snow days such as this are not always easy, but if you are of the mind to go with the flow, you may find yourself having an experience that you left behind when our lives got so complicated.

Thank you, Eagle County Schools, for a great snow day!

John Alderson lives in Eagle.


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The VailDaily Updated Feb 16, 2014 08:24PM Published Feb 16, 2014 04:54PM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.