Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Snow Dance

At 5:25 this morning the dog began to beat it's little paws on the edge of the bed where my head laid and breath in my face. I opened one eye, looked at the clock, and noticed her hairy little tail whirling like the blade on a helicopter. I knew that if I did what I wanted to and said "go away," the nice doggy would go to the other side of the bed and beat on Cheryl's head. Cheryl still had another 15 or 20 minutes before her clock would go off and she would begin dragging herself through the morning routine that gets her out the door at 6:20 am and on the way to her job as an assistant principal.

So I sat up. The air was cold in our upstairs bedroom. The room was added to the house by improving our large addict; but no pipes from the basement furnace reach that level of the house. There's a small electric wall unit we sometimes use.

The dog was excited by her success if waking me. I reached down to the floor and gathered my clothes - a pair of shorts, my underwear, a tank top, and an orange Tennessee sweatshirt. I walked downstairs naked; but it was mostly dark and the dog doesn't mind. I put my clothes on the couch, separated the pieces and put them on. The dog stood by the door and jiggled her body in anticipation...

Dress now, I picked the dog up to prevent her from darting through the door and roaming the neighborhood in freedom. I opened the door and looked through the screen. Snow was falling. The road had spots of snow on it, but it was still mostly bear. I opened the screen and found the red plastic-coated cord that laid there and I hooked it to the dog's collar. Macy (the dog) ran down the steps and I let her go and postured in the yard, looking for enemies to bark at. I stepped inside and closed the door.

It was now 5:30 am. I went to the kitchen and poured a cup of coffee. I found Cheryl's thermos and filled it for her to take with her, pulled her lunch from the fridge, and sat the lunch and thermos near our hall tree for her to find when she left. I turned on the morning news and sat on the couch to wait. Usually I lie back down and go to sleep while Cheryl goes through her motions. I don't leave for work until 7:30 or so most mornings. This morning I needed a few minutes with the iron after she got up because I'd neglected to iron her pants last night.

Cheryl came downstairs. It was about 5:35. She asked why I was up. I explained about the dog and her pants. We touched lips. I went back upstairs and applied the iron to her pants, then ironed my own clothes and hung the on the door. I came back down and went to the kitchen for my cup of coffee.

The dog was barking, pretending (judging from the sound) to be a superhero in a film about horrible villains. I opened the front door. She stopped and looked at me. The snow was falling heavier now. In the ten minutes the dog had been out the road had become completely snow covered. I called Macy and she came up and stepped inside the door. I unhooked her. She took off for the kitchen to check her bowl...

At 5:40 the phone rang. One of my wife's co-workers wanted to know if they could leave their car here and ride over the mountains to her school with Cheryl. Cheryl's Subaru has four-wheel drive. A minute or two after that call the phone rang again. My wife's boss wanted her to know that our county was now on a two-hour delay. I found Cheryl. She made the three or four calls to other people at her school that she makes on such occasions. I called the one person that I pass such information on to. And I went and laid down on a guestroom bed.

Cheryl came in later and woke me. I have no idea what time it was - probably around 7:15 or so. She told me we were closed. I made my one call and went back to sleep.
At 9:45 I got up and walked to the kitchen, tip toeing past the recliner that Cheryl lay sleeping in. I warmed so of the morning's coffee, now almost five hours old. I stood at the window looking out over our back deck and the creek in out yard. There was perhaps two inches of snow in the rails around our deck. Some 32 West Virginia county school systems are closed today and students in Tazewell County stayed home, as well.

Yesterday, as the school day was ending I assumed my normal position on bus duty outside the PreK and Kindergarten rooms. As the kids lined up in the hall with their coats and mittens and hats and book bags on, I explained to them that they needed to go home and do a snow dance in their backyards. I tried to sound serious and they looked at me as though I was. I demonstrated, raising my hands over my head and turning in a circle while the other teachers tried not to snicker. Now when I see the kids I can tell them it worked...

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