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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)

TITLE: Requited Joy
By Nancy Tilson


Brinng, ring, brinng! The crisp, white early morning stillness shattered. Brinng, ring, brinng! I awakened, recognizing our particular cadence of the party line. Brinng, ring, brinng! How rude to call so early…unless, unless…I glanced out the glassine covered second story window of our farm house.

Snow! Soft, abundant, freedom gleamed there, inches deep and more fell, the flakes piling in graceful swirls. The wind whipped against the window, beating its own rhythm in counterpoint to both the party line clamor and my excited heartbeat. Could it be? Rapidly coming fully awake, I strove to remember…yes, this WAS a school day!

I threw back the heavy quilt, unmindful of the unheated floor and my unadorned feet and raced to the window for a better look. Moisture laden, fogged plastic was rapidly cleared by my now icy fist.

I could see the Timm’s farmhouse across the rural road, but just barely. If I squinted just a little, it became nearly invisible as the churning wind fluffed up the white blanket, snuggling up in places nearly to the handle of their front door.

No tracks marred the sweet perfection in the roadway, though I could see footprints leading through the deepening drifts between the neighboring home and barn. Nothing would keep farmers from tending to the needs of the milk cows. But I had no such responsibilities, so if only…

Brinng, ring, brinng! “Hello?” I heard my mother’s voice as the clanging phone was at last silenced. “Yes, I thought so. Thank you for calling.”

I waited hoping…knowing…not quite certain. The door to the stairwell creaked open. “Judy,” mom called softly. “No school today. The plows can’t keep up. No need to wake your sisters.”

I heard the Hallelujah chorus…I’m sure I did! I jumped back in bed, placing my now freezing feet against my sister’s blessedly warm legs and pulling the quilt up to my chin. She came awake quite suddenly and turned to punch me in the shoulder.

“Wait! I just wanted to tell you…no school!!” I spoke the whole truth, sort-of. Now it was her turn to joyfully jump to the window. “Whoo-hoo!”

Her gleeful shout awakened our younger sisters and they bounded into our room and bed, sensing something wonderful was happening; knowing it wasn’t Christmas just yet. “NO SCHOOL!!” Now it became its own song as we all sang the chorus.

What to do first? Certainly not sleep in! Who could sleep on a morning like this? First one, than another of us dashed to the dresser and closet grabbing soon to be needed layers. I chose to jump back into bed and under the covers to disrobe and re-robe in appropriate attire for the day’s adventure.

My younger sisters, perhaps not so concerned with modesty or more likely craving more significant warmth, hugged socks, pants and sweaters and dashed down the stairs, threw open the door and raced to the two heat registers in the dining room and living room. Four fighting for possession of the coveted territory, their joy overcame greed and they shared the glorious heat as it poured from the pumping basement furnace. Did we ever thank Dad for rising early to stoke those coals into life?

Sufficiently padded against the soon-to-be-enjoyed cold, we now wolfed down our cinnamon and brown-sugar laced oatmeal, gradually adding more whole, rich milk as our bowls would allow. Mom’s crusty homemade bread fragranced the air as she toasted it in the oven. We spread our yesterday’s churned butter on thick, followed by the sweetest strawberry freezer jam known to exist. How rich we were!

Pulling on jackets, mittens, and boots we gathered momentum as we challenged each other for the lead. Who would be the first to break the trail? Who the first snow angel? What teams would pummel firm-packed snowballs from hastily constructed snow forts? When to bring out the toboggan? Would dad shovel the pond for skating?

So much to do, so far to go…Thank God for snow!

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jackie Wilson08/20/09
Oh, I remember those days well! You captured the excitement of those fantastic fun days. For a child, truly a divine gift!
Mildred Sheldon08/20/09
The excitment of no school was rare indeed when I was a child but when it did happen we played in the snow and ran in to put our wet mittens on the coal stove and putting our cold feet up on the oven door was wonderful. Thank you for such a lovely story.
Alan Zimmerman08/22/09
I could feel the action and excitement. Your story makes winter sound like so much fun. Hooray winter!