Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Snow Day That Wasn't

The forecast called for three inches of snow,
and the weatherman said not to doubt it.
Excitement mounted as the big snow approached.
We'd gone weeks into winter without it.

The buses would slide in their morning commute;
their tires would fail to get traction.
Some called off school before one snowflake fell;
Yes, most neighboring districts took action.

Our district did not - no, they waited for proof;
so we soldiered on through the flurries.
A half day perhaps? We just dared to hope;
but the hope only fizzled to worries.

By noon it was clear that the forecast was faulty.
The closed schools had jumped to conclusions.
Anyone hoping for sledding and cocoa
clearly suffered from snow day delusions.

We worked at our desks, feeling grumpy at best.
Our dreams of snowmen were fading.
At least we wouldn't have to make up the day;
so we trudged through assignments and grading.

Like Christmas morning without any gifts,
or the 4th of July with no fireworks show,
a bunny free Easter, a starless night sky...
it was a snow day without any snow!

Snow days are gifts for all to enjoy
and pity the person who doesn't;
but for those at home waiting or those of us working,
today was a miserable snow day that wasn't.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Happy Birthday from Galley Street

Granny knew she was not the best cook. She had a few dishes that she had mastered...vegetable soup, soup beans, meatloaf, and gingerbread or jam cake (for something sweet at Christmas). She cycled through her standbys regularly, adding cornbread here, a slice of fried bologna there. She made it clear that she would rather be reading than cooking.
My birthday was the exception...which made it an exceptional day. Granny tried to be the first to wish me a happy birthday, calling long before my alarm clock was set to ring.
"Happy birthday to you," she warbled, singing the whole song enthusiastically off-key. "Happy birthday, dear Lorrrrri. Happy birthday to you!"
For dinner on January 5th (or as close to that date as we could manage), she fixed my favorite...salmon patties. She used canned "Double Q" pink salmon.
"Always pick out the little bones," she advised, as she carefully sorted through the salmon with her fingers. She added flour, egg, cornmeal, salt and pepper; then she patted the fish into round cakes about the size of the palm of her hand.
She set the skillet on the burner and poured in two caps full of Wesson oil. The gas under the burner flared blue.
While she fried the salmon patties, we talked about school and books and TV shows.
Sometimes she told stories about when she was a girl...how she used to pretend she was an opera star while she washed the supper dishes. I could just imagine her looking out her kitchen window, soap bubbles up to her elbows, singing made-up words in a loud vibrato (poor on tone, but rich with emotion).
Grown-up Granny set the salmon patties on a folded paper towel on top of a plate. We served ourselves, two salmon patties each, a heap of fried potatoes, a puddle of ketchup...a birthday feast.
While we ate, we talked. Conversation paused only long enough to chew and swallow. We lingered at the table, plates empty except for the paper towel on the serving dish. It was stamped with rings of golden oil where Granny had set the salmon patties so they wouldn't taste too greasy. Granny thought of everything.
After a while, she capped the ketchup bottle.
My birthday had begun with her song and ended with the two of us side by side. While I washed the dishes and she dried, we talked. Conversation continued, our birthday opera in a language all our own, accompanied by the clink of glasses, the clatter of silverware, and the gurgle of soapy water swirling down the drain.
I was another year older; and thanks to Granny, I was a little wiser. She knew how to make a birthday something special.