Friday, December 26, 2008

Snow days in Jersey and rain days in Jamaica

At 5:50 last Friday morning both my husband's and my phones rang. The minute I heard it I knew. The automated message from our older son's school confirmed it was to be our first snow day. It had snowed since the boys and I moved to New Jersey, but only to accumulate inches on the ground. I was actually looking forward to seeing what 'real' snow looks like. After I listened to the message I practically ran to the window to see the white splendor that was to keep D1 from his holiday party. I was more than a little surprised to see nothing. The sky was clear, the rooftops were brown and the rainbow of cars along the street were still visible. Not a drop of snow. Hundreds of schools had been closed, not due to snow, but in anticipation of snow. I thought, "What wusses!" But then I thought about rain days back home.

Rain days in Jamaica are anything but regular days. Business slows and anyone who can, stays indoors. I can't remember any official school closings for anything less than a hurricane, but on days there was heavy or consistent rainfall classrooms would be largely empty. Since my mom never allowed me to miss school for anything, I spent most of those rain days at school. There would be little actual classwork and teachers would either find some indoor recreation to occupy our time or leave us to our own devices. There was always plenty of fun to report to the absentees the next day. The one rain day I remember staying out of school (I think my dad was around, and he let me), I actually didn't spend at home. My best friend and I spent it in her bedroom because we could watch and hear the neighborhood boys hanging out in the house behind hers.

Even after I started working, rain days always conjured up warm and fuzzy feelings. Those days seem wasted on doing anything but curling up in bed with company or a good book. Of course, I never missed a work day because of rain, but I never worked late on a rain day either.

I am yet to find out if snow days will make me feel the same way rain days did. There is something soothing about the rhythmic patter of rain on glass, or zinc; something cleansing about watching drops run into each other as they cascade down the window. I can't imagine snow will be the same.

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