“Timothy! Jessica! Michael! It’s six o’clock—time to get up!” Mom’s voice spirals up the staircase like smoke up the chimney this cold morning. Frosty feathers decorate the window panes, and noses snuggle farther under the blankets. “Don’t make me come up there!”
She sips her coffee and waits for a thump, then a squeal. “It’s snowing!” A stampede of footsteps rumbles across the ceiling. “Cool! Awesome!” Like a herd of buffalo, they thunder down the stairs. “Have they called off school yet?”
“Not yet…and until they do, you need to act as if there IS school and get ready.”
The children warm their backsides before the woodstove, turning around to toast their fingers and noses for awhile. Jessica pulls the collar of her fuzzy pink bathrobe around her neck. Timothy’s socks flop beyond his toes as he dances from one foot to another. Michael stirs some cocoa into his mug of hot water and saunters into the living room. He sprawls across the couch, his long legs dangling over the end.
“Mom! Michael’s hogging the whole couch!”
The teen mutters and scoots over. He thumbs the remote, surfing the channels until he finds the local news. Timothy curls up next to him. Jessica claims the recliner for herself. The windows rattle and whistle with a blast of wind. The boys tussle beneath the fleece blanket, pulling it back and forth to cover their shivering shoulders.
“A low front is traveling up the coast. High winds, up to 70 mile per hour, are expected.” On the screen, a map appears with giant green blob oozing toward their area. The weather man traces the path of the storm with his marker. “Much of the state will be blanketed with snow, causing major power outages.”
As if on cue, the lights flicker, and three voices gasp. Jessica pauses in mid-text to her BFF Cindy. The television blinks off and no one moves—all frozen in anticipation. Finally with a snap and buzz, the screen revives. They sigh with relief, only because a day without power would be totally boring. Jessica punches in another text to Cindy.
Mom smears peanut butter on slices of bread and looks at her watch. “It’s six thirty. Jessica, if you’re going to take a shower, you better get in there now.”
“It’s too cold, Mom. My hair will freeze and break off like icicles.”
“I don’t think so—not if you get in now, so it will have time to dry.”
Jessica pads off to the bathroom in her stocking feet, texting as she shuffles down the hallway. Timothy scampers into the kitchen for a bowl of Sugar Squares. Michael smiles and gathers the blanket all to himself.
“Mom! Michael’s hogging the blanket!”
“Shhh…stop being such a baby!” He lifts one edge for Timothy to slide under.
After the results of the lottery game and a few car commercials, the weatherman returns with his blobby map. This time the green blob covers most of the screen.
“There are storm warnings for most of the state today. Police recommend only necessary travel on the highways. The airport reports that many flights are being cancelled or delayed. Watch for school cancellations at the bottom of your screen.”
Timothy tugs on his brother’s arm. “I can’t read it, Michael. It’s going too fast. Tell what schools are closing.”
Michael groans and reads the scrolling words. “Clifton, Dansport, Fairfield, Farnsworth, Gilford, Grange…”
“Where’s our school?”
“We’re not till the end of the alphabet. I’ll tell you if it comes up.”
Mom lays a pile of clothes on a chair. “Timothy, I want you to get dressed.”
He takes off his pajama shirt in slow motion as he stares at the pink bunny energizing a space ship. He pauses with one leg in his pants as he watches a car zoom through fields of flowers waving their arms. The news returns with the town names sliding across the bottom.
“Michael, is it near our school yet? What’s it say?”
“Pittsfield, Preston, Richmont, Rockland, … SPEARMONT!”
Timothy throws his sneakers in the air. “Yay! NO SCHOOL!!!” He gallops around the house. “I’m going outside to make a snow fort.”
Jessica emerges from the bathroom, with a towel around her head and her phone to her ear. “Cindy, did you hear? Isn’t that so cool? Whatcha doing today?”
Michael slumps off the couch. “I’m going back to bed.”
Mom sighs. “I think I need another cup of coffee.”
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