Yesterday I had this strange sensation in my stomach as the afternoon hours ticked away – there was a snow storm coming! The meteorological indicated it would begin around 4:00pm. My students began arriving at 2:15pm, each hoping for a snow day. I was concerned for some of my high school students when Tyler Allen, one of my basses, was outlining the Symphonic Chorale and vocal jazz groups’ evening performance. I would not want my child driving in such conditions. Tyler assured me he would not be driving.

I was concerned that the snow storm has begun up north when Nate Stevens, my 3:15pm voice student from Vandalia (about 20 miles to the north) did not show. At 4:15, as I started Jill Cordonnier’s hour long piano/saxophone lesson, I noticed a few flakes beginning to fall and within a few minutes it was a snow shower – heavy! At 4:30pm, Nate and his dad, Monte, showed up. Nate got his times mixed up (Mondays he comes at 4:30pm for an hour, and Thursdays he comes at 3:15pm for an hour). I felt sorry sending them back out into the sheet of falling white that by now had covered everything, but I also knew it was only going to get worse.

The Hetzers canceled their lesson after Jill’s and by this time, the call-outs from the school were coming through on the telephone. Terence Kalba, the former ballet star and choreographer, now turned science teacher, stopped by to make sure I knew the dance call-backs for the school’s musical were canceled. We talked for a few minutes and then he hurried home to begin snow plowing his drive.

The traffic in front of our home was moving at a crawl. Matt had left for work, so it was only Jose and I left at home. The perfect time for Chinese!

“Are we ordering it from the restaurant?” Jose asked.

“Foolish boy! When the snow falls hard, our family has never yielded to such practice. We are like the great hunters and we venture forth for our food.”

Jose’s expression registered confusion.

“Get your coat on. We’re going to Wal-Mart and then for Chinese.”

With that, the Happy Wanderer darted for the closet, put on his coat, and grabbed the broom to clear off the snow from the car. In a few minutes we were moving slowly on the snow covered streets. The five minute trip to Wal-Mart took approximately twenty minutes. The parking lot was packed and the store bordered on chaos as people seemed to move at a frantic speed.

In line, we were chatting with one of Jose’s friends. I introduced myself to his mother and as she gave me her name, the Wal-Mart speaker’s blared with an announcement for its “holiday shoppers.” I acknowledged her introduction hoping I would not be quizzed later. She finished her purchase and left. As we neared the parking lot I asked Jose his friend’s name.

“He is Brooks, but I can’t remember his last name.”

“Brooks?”

“Yes. He’s a nice kid.”

I quickly searched for Brooks and his mother in the parking lot, but they had apparently left. I had known Brooks since he was a tiny baby. Brooks’ grandmother, Gladys, was the companion of a dear friend, Bob Johnson, a co-band director with me in Centerville in the early 1990’s. Gladys’ daughter, Diane, had two beautiful children – a daughter, now a sophomore in high school with Matt, and of course, Brooks, who is in Jose’s class. The Spring of 2004 I learned, a year after the fact, that Bob had died. A few weeks later at the Van Buren Middle School awards ceremony, I ran into Diane and I told her I just learned of Bob’s death and would contact her mother. The next day, my grandfather died and of course, I completely forgot about Bob’s passing for a while. I was so upset that I did not recognize Diane last night… so I must make a telephone call to apologize for my slip.

Jose and I finished dinner and made it to the library and home without an incident. I walked Flyer on the high school lawn and then drove over to pick up Matt. We ate some cake and ice cream while watching television for 30 minutes and then the boys retreated to their bedroom with a board game. My dear friend, Jeff Carter, called from Ball State to describe the snow back in Indiana, and to chat about other things until E.R. came on television.

I decided to turn in early and as I was finishing up some Emails, my student, Nate popped on AIM. He told me of the adventure he and his father had on their return to Vandalia – they hit a snow covered curb and damaged their axel. After that, he immediately jumped into discussions of musical theatre, telling me he had listened to a clip of Benjamin Magnuson singing an excerpt from Sweeney Todd on National Public Radio (NPR). Eventually, this conversation led to a lengthy discussion on religion… my early night quickly crept through Letterman’s show and the talk show that follows it… ugh! 1:00am was upon us. I went to bed with a new library book on the Kennedy assassination which was told from all the media coverage. I glanced up at the clock by my bed and it screamed in square red numbers: 3:22am. Argh!!!!!

I woke at 6:30am and immediately noticed the school was dark. Generally the custodians are busy by 6:30am and a few teachers are already preparing for their day. I turned the television on to see that Kettering schools were closed. Matt, however, was up and awake at 6:35am – on the one day that he could have actually remained in bed. Normally, I begin Operation Wake-Up with Matt at 6:40am and it continues until 7:00am. This morning, I returned to my bed and slept until 9:00am.

This morning, he hugged me, hurried back up to grab his towel and hit the shower. It is now 11:30am and he has been upstairs cross-stitching Christmas gifts all morning. Jose and Flyer just returned from playing out in the snow. I think Flyer built a snow man and Jose probably urinated on it… those two can switch roles so fast.

Tonight Matt works and when he returns at 8:00pm, I will drop the boys off at the Lutheran church (where Nate’s father, Monte, is minister) for a partial lock-in party while I head to support group at ACTION Adoption to visit with families who were hopefully granted new children this week. There is one couple in particular, Ted and Annie Caudill, I wish to see. They are dolls! I hope they get their three children from Oregon. They should know by 4:00pm today.

Tomorrow, Matt works, and Jose and I will probably complete some errands and shopping. Afterwards, we might grab pizza and a movie with Nate Stevens, and his younger brother, Adam. Nate and Matt are both sophomores, and Jose and Adam are both in 7th grade. If they cannot join us, then my sons and I will probably continue with the plans.

Sunday after church I will drive down to Cincinnati for Phil’s concert and the dinner afterwards – in my new black suit with red tie and matching cuff links.

I hope it will be a fun-filled weekend.

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