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Jeanie Groh column: Snow day memories

Growing up, snow days were always my favorite.

As a native North Carolinian, snow was a special treat – a once- or twice-a-year (if even) treat.

Not only did snow days mean no school, they meant a full day of chilly, outdoor fun.

The driveway at my childhood home makes the perfect sledding hill, and the backyard wasn’t too shabby, either. As much as I begged them, my parents never would invest in a sled for just a day or two of use a year, but I quickly found out that a trashcan lid worked just as well.

I would slide down the driveway again and again until it became a solid sheet of ice, or until I managed to work away all the snow.

When I tired of sledding, I would try my hand at building 2-foot-tall snowmen (because we never had enough snow to make snowmen taller than that) or snow angels.

One year, we had an exceptionally heavy snowfall, and I decided to build a legitimate snow fort. My dad, the engineer, helped me carefully craft snow bricks by packing our recycling bin full of snow, then constructing the fort, complete with an opening for me to crawl in and out of the fort.

You’d rarely hear me complain about having to come inside, because I knew I’d be greeted with soup, homemade hot chocolate and a cozy fire in our wood-burning fireplace.

Another year, my mom picked me up from school early because of an impending ice storm. On the way home, she treated me to a Starbucks hot chocolate. That 30-minute detour turned our typical 15-minute commute home into several hours because the roads started freezing over.

Those hours in the car are a sweet memory, though. It gave my mom and I the opportunity to bond as we made our way home.

My favorite snow day memory didn’t happen until I was in college, however.

Christmas break was coming to a close, and a winter storm system was moving in and my parents insisted I get back to school a day earlier than planned to avoid icy roads later that week.

The hall in my dorm was nearly empty, so my friend, Amy, and I decided to make the best of being snowed in.

Before it started, we made our way to the grocery store to stock up on snow day essentials – and by that, I mean chocolate and strawberries.

That night, as the snow began to fall, we spent the night in flannel pajama pants watching chick flicks and melting chocolate in my dorm room microwave to make our own chocolate-covered strawberries.

The following morning, we went outside to explore the winter wonderland. I donned tights, leggings, socks and jeans, along with my black and multicolored polka-dotted rain boots, a scarf and my heavy winter coat. We walked around campus to find the prettiest spots for pictures, stopping along the way to admire the beauty.

Snow days aren’t so glamorous these days. News never stops, so I’ve learned to brave the snow and ice to make it into work.

We have fun in the newsroom on snow days, though. During last year’s big snow, I found myself sliding around Salisbury looking for children playing in the snow. Sometimes they even bring in a big lunch or we make soup in house.

Despite having to show up for work during inclement weather, there’s still a certain amount of awe and excitement that comes with a snow day, and the little girl that lives deep inside my heart still gets a little giddy when she sees school has been canceled.

What about you? What’s your favorite snow day memory?

Contact education reporter Jeanie Groh at 704-797-4222.

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