By Lisa Sugarman
I may have inadvertently done a bad thing. But I didn’t mean to. Well, ok, I did mean to. And I’m afraid I’m going to do it again.
You know the four snow days we’ve already had this winter? Well that was me. They were my fault. And I know that snow days can be an inconvenience in terms of shoveling out and child care if your work, so I hope I didn’t throw you too bad. But I’m not sorry I made them happen. I’m really not. And if I have the chance to make one happen again, I will.
See, I love snow days. I love everything about them. I love the extended-forecast anticipation of them. I love the waiting for notification of them. I love waking up the morning after a storm, pulling back the shade, and seeing that everything is buried under a foot of fresh powder. I love the pajama factor. I love the hot cocoa and pancake piece. And yes, I even love the digging out part. Just ask Dave; he’s used our snow blower maybe twice in the last ten years because he can’t pry me off of it when have a storm. I like clean, symmetrical lines, what can I say?
Now let me back up a little and explain how an ordinary soccer mom has the power to influence major weather events.
Many years ago, when I first started working for the school system as a kindergarten aide, one of our kids shared a secret with me. Crazy as it seems, it was his secret for making snow days happen.
Now this was no ordinary kid and for sure was no ordinary secret. On the outside, he looked like your typical six-year-old boy. He walked into class every morning with catastrophic bed head, forgot to zip up his fly at least twice a week, would occasionally write his “Ds” backwards, and almost always put his snow boots on the wrong feet. But there was something about him. A quality. A quiet wisdom, I guess you could call it. Because he always had an uncanny, almost Nostradamus-like way of predicting when we would have a snow day. He nailed it every time. The kid never missed.
Now of course, me being me, I eventually had to ask the kid where he was getting his information. I mean, he was so accurate that it was almost spooky. He was like an insider trader of weather predictions.
At first, he was reluctant to tell me and he’d kind of shrug me off. And that made me realize that I needed to earn his trust before he’d open up and share. Because clearly he had some kind of power or “sight” that was bigger than both of us and I wanted in to the club.
So for the first half of that winter, that’s exactly what I did. It was kind of like he was Mr. Miyagi and I was Daniel san. We would sit together in our snow pants, criss-cross-applesauce style, on the Eveleth School playground, and just catch snowflakes together on our tongues. He never missed. I swore the kid was the next Dalai Lama.
And it was only when I confided in him my true love of The Snow Day, that he knew my heart was pure and I was worthy of The Secret. I told him how, when I was his age, I would wake up at 4:30 in the morning the day after a storm, sneak into the kitchen, and quietly turn on our transistor radio and listen to the endless list of school cancellations. I told him how I begged my neighbors to let me shovel them out because I just loved carving out clean, open routes in the snow for people to move around. I told him how I loved that a snow day is a beautiful forced stop when all there is to do is cozy up and relax. Or, like my friend Sue says, it’s a decadent treat, like eating a big dessert after lunch.
I told him about the Blizzard of ’78 and how it was possibly the greatest week of my life. When more snow than anyone had ever seen at one time blew in and buried Marblehead for five whole days. I told him how magical everything was. How it was like living in Pleasantville because everyone helped everyone. And how it felt like we were all back on the Frontier when times were simple and pure. No one went to work. No one went to school. There were no cars on the roads. Everyone just smiled and shoveled. Smiled and shoveled.
I think it was that Blizzard of ’78 story that finally made him trust me. I think he saw it in my eyes that I was a child of the Snow Day. Because it was right after I told him, that he shared The Secret.
He had me bend down next to him, right there under the jungle gym, and he whispered it in my ear. “It’s the Power of the Spoons & the Pajamas,” Mrs. Sugarman. To which I of course cocked my head and said, “the power of the what?!” And he just said, “it’s the Power of the Spoons & the Pajamas.” And his little voice was so authentic and virtuous that I just had to stay open minded.
He went on to tell me that if you put an ordinary teaspoon in your freezer and turn your pajamas inside out the night before a big snow storm, school will always be cancelled. But, he said, you had to believe. That was the key. If you didn’t believe, then it just wouldn’t work.
Anyway, it was his absolute faith in The Secret that moved me to try it myself that same winter. See, I really do believe in the power of rituals and when you combine them with the power of belief you’ve pretty much bought yourself a fool-proof way of influencing a situation.
And wouldn’t you know, it worked the first time out of the gate. The very next time a big storm was forecast, I went through the motions. I mean, at first, I of course didn’t tell Dave and the girls what I was doing. This was just a dry run for credibility’s sake. I hid the spoon behind the ice maker in the freezer and pretended that I didn’t realize my pjs were on backwards. I’m usually a goober so they didn’t even notice. It was only after school was cancelled the very next morning that I knew I was onto something. At which point I of course went screaming into their bedrooms waving the icy spoon over my head, confessing to the whole thing. They bought in 100 percent. And we’ve been using The Secret ever since.
Remember back a handful of years ago when we had those freak blizzards every Wednesday for an entire month? Yup, that was us. Sorry. We got a little carried away.
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking what you usually think when I say things like this: she’s nuts. But this time I’m really not. Just ask the dozens of people I’ve shared The Secret with over the last few weeks and they’ll tell you it’s real. Because they did what I told them to do and they believed. And it worked.
And it’ll work again. But I promise to show some self-control. I know we only have one snow day left before we’ll be going to school until August. So I’ll try to show a little restraint from here on out, I promise.
Lisa Sugarman lives in Marblehead. Read and discuss all her columns at facebook.com/ItisWhatitisColumn OR follow her blog at https://itiswhatitiscolumn.wordpress.com.