Snow Day, Yay!


In response to Anthony DiSipio, who doesn’t understand why anyone likes cold weather and shoveling snow (“Speaking of Shoveling Snow ... Odd Jobs Back in the Day,” 1/31), I love winter and shoveling a limited amount of snow. (Notice the word limited.) Let me elucidate.

Winter and snow are a delightful diversion for me. I enjoy seasonal change in weather. I’m not talking about climate change, which I find distressing. I’m not a snowbird; I enjoy living on Long Beach Island during the off-season. I delight in the crisp air of autumn morphing into the dark days of winter. I look forward to having my glass of wine a bit earlier at dusk. That means I wind down a bit sooner with more time to read and watch my favorite TV shows. Now there’s the Winter Olympics to watch: ice skating, skiing, snowboarding and the luge. I could go on. Is there anything more exciting?

Now that I’m older, winter is time for my semi-hibernation. I walk outside when it’s not too cold and enjoy my warm house when it’s frigid outside. It’s a rather pleasant and cozy compromise.

In my youth, I ran home from school to get playtime outside before darkness. The first snow was always enchanting. Ordinary houses and trees looked like something out of a fairy tale. Frosted windows and icicles hung from eaves. I couldn’t wait to go out. Yes, I was lucky and had mittens (knitted by my grandmother) and leggings, and boots called arctics. No one in my neighborhood wore leather, unlined coats back in the day. We were bundled up.

My friends and I shoveled snow. Kids were expected to do this, and there was no allowance. We would make snow forts and have snowball fights. We would pile up snow and make tunnels and leap off drifts. Granted, we were lucky to have yards to play in and not have to worry about city hazards. We didn’t stand on corners. I do understand why Mr. DiSipio hates the white stuff.

My favorite Christmas gift was always a pair of ice skates, as the local pond would freeze. I’m sad that perhaps due to climate change, ponds don’t seem to freeze much anymore.

Sledding was always fun even if you didn’t own a sled. We used tin cookie sheets and metal pie pans if our rear was small enough. This was before someone thought of inventing plastic saucers and sliders. It was a glorious time, and of course hope sprang eternal.

We prayed for a blizzard and a wonderful phone call announcing “Snow Day.” This would happen only occasionally. There were no school buses in the town. Everyone walked. We would kick through drifts wearing our arctic boots with buckles. The metal snaps would freeze so we had to keep them on all day in school after dripping puddles on the floor.

Winter on Long Beach Island has some advantages. The few restaurants open are never crowded and welcome you with creative menus. Some of the chefs like to experiment. The traffic lights are off, the speed limit is up, and travel is a breeze. Dogs are allowed on the beach, and you can walk forever in what seems like a wilderness. Since l’m retired, I enjoy the occasional storm by staying inside if the roads are icy or flooded. Most of the time, the going is fine and I’m off and running.

Each day I anticipate a little more light before dusk. I tell myself spring is coming. Then I watch the sun go down. Sunsets in winter are beautiful. Before long, it’s time for my end of the day celebration – a glass of vino. Cheers to cold weather and winter!

Kathleen Donnelly lives in Beach Haven Terrace.

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