Getting the Call | Mark’s Remarks

After the holidays, teachers face the long winter. Now, I’m not telling you that we dread our jobs every day or file into the school humming “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,” or anything like that. No, we still come to work with sunny dispositions.

Most of the time.

Let’s face it, though. We all look forward to a respite from time to time. In January, that could only mean one thing: snow days. There is a certain magic to snow days.

They come on as a welcome visitor who knocks on your door, causing you to stop what you are doing and sit a spell. Indeed, snow days seem to slow things down a bit.

The best snow days are in the middle of a particularly busy or hectic week. During those times, snow days are like a shot in the arm. You go back to work the next day feeling refreshed and with a little more giddyup in your step.

It’s not been so long ago that I was experiencing snow days as a student. I can recall the big snow of 1982. It was a marvelous morning. There I was, sitting in journalism class. We suddenly were hit with what meteorologists called a “thunder snow” with huge, wet flakes falling from the sky at a rapid pace. In the course of an hour, things began to look pretty dicey outside.

I’ll never forget what happened next: “Attention.  School will be dismissed immediately.”  Can you believe it? I kid you not. The secretary came over the intercom and said just that.  There was no holding us back.

With a roar that rivaled the beasts of the jungle, we all rose in one collective cacophony of craziness and spilled out into the hallway. My good friend’s dad picked us up. He was the only one who could be summoned that fast. Did I mention he picked us up in his police car? We rode in the back seat, just like common criminals.

That snow lasted a while and I’m thinking we were out of school for almost a week. It was a great time. We probably did enough sledding and snowmobiling that week to last us through many mild winters.  Great memories.

We moved into our current house in February, around eight years ago. Yes, not such a good time to move. On the morning of the big move, the snow began to fall. I had already taken a personal day for the move, and as we worked through the morning and into the afternoon, the snow continued to pile up.  By the time we were all moved in, or at least with all our stuff under one roof, the snow had started to pile high. I remember being so exhausted that night that we flopped some mattresses down on the floor and slept there, too weary to put the beds together.

The wonderful call came early the next morning. “Hello Mark,” said the voice on the other end. “No school today.”  There isn’t supposed to be any visiting on a “snow tree,” but I remember saying “Oh bless you!  I could kiss you!” I spoke as if my colleague on the other end of the line had planned and carried out this much needed break. It was wonderful. We used the day to relax and start moving in a bit. This was a memorable snow day.

We now have an electronic “snow tree” where parents and teachers all receive the same message. It’s still a welcome phone call.

Let it snow!

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Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.
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