Yesterday we lived on the cusp. The forecast projected that our temperature would fall all day. This forecast proved true, which suggests to me that Nostradamus would have done better with a Doppler radar and perhaps the assistance of a good proofreader with an MFA from a school in a place like Natchez or Saskatoon.
The cusp part arose from the rain. The weather forecasters all agreed we would get rain yesterday, but did not agree on how long the rain would endure. When I drove to work, the rain fulfilled prophecy, elevating the websites in my mind to the level of lesser sages like Habakkuk and Nehemiah. The cold, meanwhile, ran like a happy racehorse freed to retire in a field of daisies. The cold advanced on our fair city like an invading army, a legion of mice that roared.
I was, therefore, fairly certain that the uncertain issue--"would the rain stay around long enough to turn into wintry mix and then freezing rain?' would be answered in the affirmative, after a short debate resulting in the award of a huge cup to students whose debating skills did not conceal their supercilious pride in their advocacy.
Yet around 1 p.m. the sky turned as blue as a sky in a commercial for Irish soap. I thought of my childhood. I was born in 1959, so we are talking the years between 1959 and 1977. Weather forecasting was pretty good, but much less accurate than today. On school days with inclement weather, this gave rise to a double thrill. The first thrill was the thrill of seeing if the weather was more White Christmas/March of the Penguins or Sands of the Sahara. The second thrill was huddling around the AM radio (AM radio was the internet of the 1960s for most people) and listening to the announcer read school district after school district.
Gurdon school district was and is a small town school district, surrounded in that time by even smaller districts. These smaller districts were on very country roads which required school closing at the drop of Frosty the Snowman's hat. You have not lived until you have driven rural Arkansas roads in winter weather.
At least, that's what I imagine. I cannot remember the last time, if ever, I drove them in winter weather.
Decades, I imagine.
Gurdon schools, though, required a slight but discernible bit more snow than the very rural places. So we'd wait while district after district was read out by the DJ some sixteen miles away in the metropolis of Arkadelphia (population 16,000). News of a school closing was greeted with enthusiasm similar to a baby being rescued from a well or peace settling over all of Europe. We ate snow ice cream--snow, sugar and condensed milk which came in cans featuring Elmer, Elsie the cow's strong, silent husband. We pulled out our sled, which got roughly 2 to 3 days of use a winter. We built unimpressive snowmen. We ate oatmeal, and wore mittens. All because a list of schools had decided our fate--a least for the day.
Last night Fate decreed that I did not have an icy path home. I went to the Salvation Army to give legal advice at the free legal clinic, as I do almost every month. I find these evenings invigorating and yet
I find myself humbled, because I worry about problems far less at the heart of things than the problems other folks face.
When I awoke at 6 a.m., I looked out the window. No unexpected snow had fallen. I got out of bed, gave my dogs their medicines in sleek pill pockets,and turned to face the morning.