Snow Storm: Holiday Miracle Provides Days of Bliss
“It sure looks like snow,” Margaret said as she climbed aboard my school bus. I was making my first run of the morning.
“Wouldn’t it be great?” I replied. “With Christmas three weeks away, we could get an extended holiday.”
It was December 1958, and I was a senior at Aberdeen High School. In those days, students actually drove the school buses. There were seven drivers in my class, and I can’t remember any of us ever having an accident. Of course, the buses’ top speed was only 28 miles per hour. I believe Leon Garner’s bus, which was the school’s newest one, would hit maybe 30 going downhill. Driving was a great way to earn a little extra money. Our salary was $28 a month, a lot of cash in those days.
“Snow’s probably too much to hope for,” Margaret continued as we neared the school. She was sitting right behind me, and we had been talking about plans for the holidays. “With exams coming up, we can’t afford to miss days for snow.
“Watch it, Margaret,” I replied. “I don’t want to hear those negative vibes. I need a blizzard to give me extra time to study for Mrs. Voss’ French exam.”
A foreign language course was required to get into college, and thanks to my concentration on football when I should have been hitting the French books, I was having a little problem with my final grade. I really needed to ace that exam.
I pulled the bus in front of the school, let off my first load, and headed back toward Pinebluff for the second pickup. The sky continued to lower with dark clouds blowing out of the north. It does seem to be getting colder, I thought. Maybe we could have snow.
The next morning Dad came upstairs to the room I shared with my younger brother and quietly woke me. “Tommy, get dressed and come downstairs. You need to get in touch with the school. It’s snowing and I don’t believe you’ll be going today.”
I looked out our bedroom window and saw snow swirling around the streetlight. It looked as if two or three inches were on the ground. Hurriedly, I dressed and went down to the kitchen.
Mother had the television tuned to the Raleigh station, and the weatherman was excitedly pointing to a map.
“This could be a big one,” he was saying. The Sandhills could get over a foot of snow.
Dad was on the phone. He handed it to me saying, “It’s your school.”
“Tommy?” said Mrs. Wallace, the school secretary. “We aren’t having school today. We’ll give you a call to let you know when we’ll resume.”
Thus began what came to be our longest break other than summer vacation. Snow kept the schools closed until our regular Christmas holidays began. Then we had two weeks off until after New Year’s Day. It was wonderful. Cliff Blue, Jimmy Veasey, H.B. Ritter and I hunted about every day. When we weren’t in the woods trying to find game, we were roaming the snow-covered roads looking for adventure.
We had a marvelous holiday, but eventually, it was nearly time to head back to the classroom. On New Year’s Day, I cranked up my bus to make sure that it would run okay. Remnants of the blizzard remained on the north side of trees, but the roads were clear. I have to admit I still hadn’t studied for the French exam that was scheduled for the next week. I’ll study tonight, I thought.
Man, what happened to the vacation? I’m going to need a miracle to get me through this class.
When I told mom that I would be upstairs studying, she said, “It’s about time. You should have been studying all along.”
My desk faced the upstairs windows, and I sat down to trudge through the first chapter that would be covered on the exam. I looked out the window, and in the grayness of dusk, saw snowflakes slowly drifting through the pines. It can’t be, I thought as I slammed the French book closed and ran downstairs. My miracle has arrived. I need to call Blue. Tomorrow will be a perfect day to rabbit hunt.
I walked out on the porch to watch as a blanket of white began covering everything, including my school bus.
Contact Tom Bryant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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