Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Snow Dance

I grew-up in central Florida, so I had no idea to what lengths kids and teachers would go in order to get a little snow and a short break from school:
When it comes to conjuring a snowstorm, 8-year-old Taylor Zelman has more than a few tricks aimed at getting the day off from school.

She wears her pajamas inside out and backward. She runs around the kitchen table five times and flushes ice cubes down the toilet. And as she goes to sleep on winter school nights, she faithfully repeats, “I want it to snow, I want it to snow, I want it to snow.”

“My teacher told me to throw an ice cube at a tree, but I haven't tried it yet,” says the third-grader from Leesburg, Va. “I'm sure there's tons more I could do.”

Indeed, there are many snow rituals kids and adults alike use in hopes of getting a day off from school or work. Some sing songs and perform arm-flailing snow dances, while others place white objects or silverware underneath their pillows.

Chris Conti fondly recalls his elementary school days in Madison, Conn., when — wearing only underwear — he would run around the house several times and then lie down on the ground and count to 30, or “15 if there was already snow on the ground because it was cold,” says Conti, who is now 24 and lives in Massachusetts.

In Gahanna, Ohio, high school English teacher Mary Lou Purdy keeps a snow globe that says “snow days” on her office desk. She and colleagues regularly shake it as they walk by.

Half the fun, Purdy says, is anticipating the possibility of a day off. “It breaks up the monotony of winter. Otherwise, it's one gray day after another,” she says. “There's something so comforting about getting to roll over and stay under the covers — and enjoy the serenity of the snow.”

Hallie Rozansky, a 16-year-old high school junior in Abington, Pa., agrees and says she has become more likely to try the pajama or silverware tricks as she has gotten older.

“We definitely take it more seriously, because extra sleep is good,” Hallie says, referring to herself and her 13-year-old brother, Robbie. “And we also have more time to study.”

Taylor, the third-grader in Virginia, also is convinced her rituals have an effect — and is especially sold on ice-cube flushing. “It goes down to the ocean and it freezes up the ocean,” she says. “So that's why I think it'll snow.”
Out here in California's rural "Imperial" Valley, we don't worry about snow either, though the old-timers speak of "mud days" when school was cancelled due to rain and folks could not move about due to excessive...mud.
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