A forecast of snow – feet of snow no less – has never before upset me. In the cold winter months when I was in school, I’d go to sleep not only with my pajamas backwards, but also inside out, for that extra effort. Sleepovers meant elaborate snow dances followed by a rush to the window the next morning. We usually discovered nothing but the bare, frozen ground. But our hope never diminished.
When we finally did wake up to a white storm, whether an inch or a foot, my brother and I would race into our layers of snow gear – at least five layers under bib snow pants, turtle necks, long johns, and a head piece with small holes for our eyes. We’d waddle out the door before breakfast, tirelessly sledding down our steep street, the bulkhead to stop us from flying straight into the creek at the bottom. Depending on the snow’s depth and consistency, the neighborhood kids would join forces to build a snow fort. We’d take hot chocolate breaks every couple hours, an excuse to heal the painful burning from a cold snowball thrown squarely in the face.
By afternoon, we were ready for more serious slopes. The hill at St. John’s College, a monster of a hill, was wide and steep – and completely worth dragging our sleds across town for. After hurtling ourselves down the drop countless times, we’d head home and play board games while our toes thawed. The next day, we’d wake up and do it all over again. This cycle continued until the bottom of the news screen no longer posted Anne Arundel County in its list of cancellations and we wearily trudged back to school, the sidewalks flanked by mounds of dirty snow. Even as I passed the age of sledding all day, snow days were wonderful for their novelty. There was always some change of plans, and usually this meant no classes or work.
But last Saturday morning, as the snow fell in thick flakes and the Weather Channel predicted over two feet, I sat on my couch wishing for the opposite, whatever that might be. Anything that wouldn’t hinder people from coming to my family’s annual Christmas party. The party is a tradition that started in 1992, and has continued with only one hiatus last year. I can proudly say that although the blizzard of 2009 shut down the state of Maryland – and probably the entire Mid-Atlantic region – for the weekend, the Dodd family did not reschedule. Instead, we went ahead with our party. Maybe there were only 12 guests (slightly fewer than the usual 90 or so) who made it, and perhaps the carols were sung in a cappella style instead of with a piano accompaniment, but there was still singing, cookies, good company, and Mrs. Dodd’s meatballs. And what else matters in the end?