Huddled around the radio at 6 am, my three children prayed they wouldn’t have to go to school. Cheers echoed throughout the house as the radio announcer said, “All school buses are cancelled for the day.”
The telephone rang, interrupting the celebrations. A phone chain message from my children’s school confirmed the bus cancellation. Snow plows had been taken off the roads overnight due to blizzard like conditions.
Over a breakfast of cereal, toast and orange juice, my children planned their day off. At the top of the list was their favourite snow day tradition – maple syrup on snow.
Road hockey, tobogganing, skating and board games completed the list. My number one rule was household chores had to be finished first, then board games could come out of the closet. Competition was tough but fair as cards, dice and boxes covered the kitchen table. Games continued until noon.
Everyone helped in the kitchen making grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup- a favourite lunch for a stormy day. Half way through lunch hour, the sun peaked through the snow clouds, winds calmed down, large snowflakes nestled in the trees and covered the ground.
“Mom! Can we play outside after lunch, please?” my children pleaded in unison.
“After lunch dishes are washed, you can go outside,” I replied.
Washing up done, my children grabbed their snowpants and winter coats out of the closet. Brightly coloured woolen mittens, hats and scarves, once drying by the furnace in the basement, were hurriedly put on. With three pairs of warm winter boots zipped up tight, out the back door my children went into the snow.
Everyone struggled as they attempted to walk through the deep snowdrifts that had formed overnight. The search was on to find the perfect spot to use for making maple syrup on snow. With hands held tight my children pushed and pulled each other across the snowy backyard. Through the kitchen window I watched as three pairs of arms waved, which signalled to me, the spot had been found. Dressed in warm winter clothing, armed with a jug of maple syrup, I headed outdoors.
The chosen spot, a clean, white, smooth surface, sat on top of a snow bank close to the largest maple tree in the yard. I nodded my head in approval and announced that that the perfect spot had been found. Cheers erupted as I poured tiny circles of maple syrup onto the snow. Cold temperatures caused the syrup to harden quickly.
Woolen mittens removed, exposed bare hands scooped the delicious treat off the snow. Smiles formed across the faces of my children as the maple flavour tickled their taste buds. The tradition continued until everyone’s sweet tooth was satisfied.
Road hockey and chores in the barn completed the afternoon outside.
Down into the basement everyone went and placed their winter clothing and boots to dry beside the furnace. After supper and hot baths, my children, dressed in warm pyjamas and cozy slippers gathered around the kitchen table. I served mugs of steaming hot chocolate and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. Hopes were high for another snow day to happen soon.
Bedtime prayers that night were, “God, please let us have another snow day so we can have more maple syrup on snow.”
Within minutes my three children were sound asleep.