Of all the combinations of frozen water that a Vermont winter can produce, wintry mix has got to be everyone’s least favorite because it is so dangerous to drive. Which means if you can take a snow day, it’s really smart to do so.
Of course, “snow day” has different meanings for each of the denizens of Carding, Vermont.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Edie Wolfe raised her head from her pillow, trying to account for the strange hissing sound drifting in and out of her hearing. It took a minute but then she realized that its intensity rose and fell with the wind.
“Great,” she muttered as she shuffled to the bathroom. “Sleet. Everybody’s favorite.”
“Frank, what are you doing up?” Norrie Hitchcock called to her husband.
“Shhh, it’s all right,” he whispered from his post by the window. “I’m just checking road conditions one more time before I call off school.”
His wife sat up, squinting in the light of their digital clock. “Why aren’t you online? What’s out the window?”
“Without the leaves on the trees, I can see the headlights moving along the interstate.” Frank leaned forward. “There’s hardly anybody out, and the ones I do see are moving like snails.” He picked up his phone. “We only have three snow days left before I have to add extra days at the end of the year so I just want to be sure.”
Norrie chuckled. “The kids in Molly’s class have figured out that you’re the new superintendent, and the guy who makes snow days. They believe that you skid our cat across the porch to see if she can stand up or not, and if she can’t, you call a snow day.”
Frank chuckled. “Really? Somehow, I can’t see Gracie letting me do that to her.” He pushed his send button. “There, all the radio stations know, the town manager, the principals, everyone. Now we can all go back to bed.”
“Whoo. I wish someone would figure out how to pre-heat these things,” Melvin Goode said as he hoisted himself into the seat of a town plow truck. He reached down for the cup of coffee held by his assistant. “Seems like I spend the first hour on the road freezing my butt off.”
“Maybe we should invest in some of those heating pads that you warm up in a microwave,” Bruce Elliott said. “My wife got a couple from Cooper’s store, and we’ve been using them in the car. They work great.”
Melvin stared at him for a minute. Even though he used the garage’s microwave to make popcorn and heat coffee, he still didn’t quite trust anything digital. “Huh. Bring me one. If they work, I’ll ask for tush warmers in my next budget. Ha!”
Off in the distance, a beeper began to sound. “That’s mine,” Bruce called over his shoulder. “Maybe I’ll let you try it when we get off the roads.”
Edie listened to the murmur of the news on Vermont Public Radio in the background while she stirred her oatmeal and cranberries. Ever since the election in November, she’d taken to draping a dish towel over her radio while the national news was on, whipping it off to catch the weather and local news. Reading national news was disturbing enough. Listening to it or watching it made her ill.
“Censorship does have its place,” she told her dog, reaching down to knead the hard-to-reach places behind Nearly’s ears. He sighed with contentment then shook himself awake, trying to figure out where he wanted to take his first nap of the day.
Nearly finally decided on the deep window sill in the kitchen, the one that his human kept a pillow on for his convenience. (Edie was so thoughtful that way.)
He could see the back door and driveway from this vantage point, as well as one of the bird feeders studded around the yard. He sighed as he watched the silent snow cover his private landscape. It was going to be a long but satisfying doggie day.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Thank you for journeying with me to Carding, Vermont. If you subscribe to my website, you’ll find a short story in your inbox every Thursday morning. And new for 2017, there will be weekly 60-second reads from my upcoming book on writing and publishing called What Would William Shakespeare Do?
If you enjoy the Carding Chronicles, please share them and encourage your friends to subscribe to this website. And please review the Carding novels wherever and whenever you get the chance to talk about books. Your opinion matters more than you can imagine. The more folks who share Carding, the more books I get to write, and the more you get to read.
The Carding novels are (in order of appearance):