Abracadabra!, Hocus Pocus!, Alakazam, Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, Open sesame. A few magic words. But for ‘country kids’, the magic words were ‘snow day’.   In Durham Region once you get north of The Ridge, the weather is different in winter.  Usually, lots more snow.  In places such as Port Perry and Uxbridge a large percentage of students reach school on a school bus.  Some of them can be on the bus up to fifty minutes each way.  So when they hear snow day, they know it means no bus ride.

Most of my many years of teaching were up in those areas.  Back then things like e-mail and text messages didn’t exist.  Some time in the Fall a letter was sent home by the school boards listing the radio stations where announcements of bus cancellations could be heard.  That meant that each snowy morning the radio was on, and the cancellation of school busses started being announced about 6 am.  Cancellation meant that everyone could stay in bed longer, stay in their PJ’s all day if they wanted to, and no lunches needed to be packed.  When I asked my long out of school son about snow days, he said it was great because he didn’t have to go to school.  Schools were open so parents could drop students off if they wanted to.  Most were usually happy not to have to get dressed, clean off the car, drop kids off, and then pick them up at the end of the day.

To people who live in towns and cities where snow plows are out  going along the same roads a few times, it might seem odd for busses to be cancelled.  In many rural areas, the roads are not paved.  There are often great distances that busses have to travel between pick up points, probably before roads are cleared.  Safety is the important issue.  No one wants to put students in harms way.  Because of distances, the weather isn’t always the same all over the area covered by busses.  I had a friend who was maybe a kilometre away and we often had different weather conditions. The people who have to decide about busses long before six o’clock in the morning obviously have to think of the worst areas.

Teachers had to make it to school so the schools were always “manned”.  It was just usually a different kind of day.  Students could catch up on work or get extra help from teachers.  Younger students could spend time at favourite activity centres.  Often in the afternoons a movie might be shown.  I think that older students probably spent time in the gym.  It was usually a nice relaxing day.

I have a certain touch of nostalgia even today when the snow flies.  When the news comes on giving out bus cancellations I still listen to see if Durham Region is included.  I guess the anticipation never really goes!

About the Author

Linda Calder is a retired teacher. She likes to write and enjoys spending time with her family. She also enjoys going on cruises, taking pictures and scrapbooking.