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*Snow Days*  1/18/02


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We had our first significant snowfall of the winter yesterday
here in Wisconsin.  Normally, plenty of the white stuff
would have fallen by now...  I just absolutely hate
shoveling snow and am counting the days until
Caleb and Connor are old enough to make shoveling
a part of their winter duties!  Caleb is six now and I figured
that he should have his own shovel, but Kristi tells me
that six-year-olds shouldn't be shoveling snow yet...
Something about stunting their growth... It seems to me
that I had to shovel snow when I was four!

Oddly enough I was looking forward to this snowfall like
no other.  For the first time in my life I had a snowblower!!
Kristi's mom moved to Florida this year and graciously gave us
their snowblower to use...  So there it sat in the back of
our garage in anticipation of the big day... but I took one
look at all the junk we had piled in the front of the garage,
wasn't even sure if we had gas for it, and realized that I didn't even
know how to start a snowblower!  So I removed the snow the old
fashioned way...  I'm looking forward to the next snowfall!

Enjoy today's story by favorite and regular
contributor Al Batt, as he shares his memories of "Snow Days."

Have a wonderful weekend...  From my family to yours,



By Al Batt

Has anything in life ever been quite so thrilling as
the times spent as a child listening to the kitchen
radio report school closings due to an approaching
blizzard?  I would listen intently to the announcer --
oh, if only I'd listened to my teachers half as well. I'd listen
like a man, who had bet his life savings on a horse,
listened to the track announcer. I'd listen to the
announcer giving cancellations school by school,
each one inching closer and closer to my school
district. Sometimes, just for orneriness, he would
give them in alphabetical order. This would just
add to the torture. It was a fiendish thing to do to
someone whose school was not near the beginning
of the alphabet. My school began with the letter N.
I thought it stood for knowledge. Why couldn't I go
to school in Albert Lea or Alden or Austin or Adams
so I'd be at the beginning of the list?  I and everyone
like me understood the agony of anticipation. Why
didn't the guy on the radio hurry?  Why did he have
to spend so much time giving the breakfast special
at some restaurant I had never been to and probably
would never go to? Why didn't the school officials just
give us break and call off school for the day?  What
could one day have hurt? Most of us knew more than
what was good for us already. Were the powers that
be worried that if school were called off that we kids
would have too much fun? At least if they called off
school, we wouldn't be able to throw any snowballs at
them. I would have been so happy to miss a day
because of snow.

A snow day is like a found day. One minute you don't
have it, then you do. A free day. A snow day.  Magical
words.  I would spend my snow days hoping and praying
for more snow.

The only thing better than a day off of school because
of snow was two days off because of snow. The
blizzard would hit the towns some distance from us
first.  We were never on the leading edge of winter
storms. We were never on the leading age of anything.
The storm would inch its way in our direction; the
closings given on the radio moving closer and closer
to my school with all of the speed of a glacier.  The
ticking of the kitchen clock would become almost
deafening.  It was often a photo finish as the clock
and the announcer's list of school closings raced to
the wire.  If he didn't say "New Richland-Hartland
Public School" soon, the all too punctual bus driver,
Ralphie, would bring his orange conveyance to the
end of our driveway. Then it was too late. On such
days, we students, the condemned, would squirm
in our bus seats watching the insufficient snowfall
with all the gravity of pallbearers.  Ralphie wasn't
much happier.  He didn't want to be in the bus either,
especially with a bunch of morose children.  Even
though we all suspected that Ralphie had become a
bus driver only because he hated children, we had
no doubt that even he enjoyed seeing the occasional smile.

But there were days.  Those glorious days when the
announcer's voice would say those few words that
I longed to hear, "New Richland-Hartland Public School
is closed today."  Oh, be still my heart -- the words still
get to me. On such days, I'd quickly slurp the last of
my cereal-that sugary mess of milk on the bottom of
my bowl. What a wonderful day it was.  The world
was my oyster -- whatever that means. It was.  How
could a person ever be any happier than he was on a snow day?
We didn't have to be athletes to experience the thrill
of victory and the agony of defeat. We knew the thrill
and agony of school closings.

Al Batt

Write Al and let him know your thoughts on his story!


Al Batt lives on a farm near Hartland,
Minnesota. Besides being a husband to Gail,
father and grandfather; Al is a newspaper
columnist, a radio and TV personality, a
storyteller, a tour leader and an avid birder.

Al Batt
RR1 Box 56A
Hartland, MN 56042


Happy New Year from

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To order your autographed copy send a check or
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Straight From the Heart: A Celebration of Life


Reader Feedback!

I really enjoyed your story, believe me it touched my heart, "YES" you found a treasure.

Bettye Winegar

Thank you for helping me remember that I also have a treasure down my
street. I cannot wait until I can talk to her again. We get so caught up in
our own world and shut everyone out. I want to practice being a better
person and look for my treasures.

Also, I have a few prayer request.
1. my 24 yr-old son Jason has a balding spot over his right ear that started
out the size of a finger nail, now it looks to be over two inches long and
over an inch wide.
2. my 22 yr-old daughter Kim is a single mother how is desperately looking
for work. And is spiritually down.
3. my 27 yr-old son Bruce needs his car repaired.
Please help me pray and be in agreement that these things will be met.
God Bless you,
Mary Whitby 


Thought For The Day:

"If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself."
Dwight L. Moody

Verse for the Day:

"Righteousness guards the man of integrity." -- Proverbs 13:6

Kid's Thought For The Day:

"Silence can be an answer."

Parent's Thought For The Day:

"A mother is a person who sees there are only four pieces of pie for five people
and promptly remarks that she has never cared for pie."

Coach's Thought For The Day:

"Don't mistake activity for achievement." -- John Wooden

Writer's Thought For The Day:

"The first step is to find out what you love -- and don't be practical about
it. The second step is to start doing what you love immediately, in any small
way possible. I've seen what happens to people when they get to do what they
love.  They light up. They glow. They have a kind of energy that's
wonderful." --Barbara Sher

Deep Thought For The Day:

"My wife Kristi thinks I'm too nosy. At least that's what she keeps scribbling in her diary."


\_\  /  
/_/  \    "For I have been crucified with Christ and I no
\_\/\ \   longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I
  \_\/   live in the body I live for the Son of God, who    
loved me and gave Himself for me."
Galatians 2:20

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I thought of you first after my family sat down to watch
the video we gave them. They loved it, to say the
least!  Within thirty seconds my mom was crying
and my dad did too. They said it was the best
Christmas gift we could have given them!!  You
did such a beautiful job!  They were so surprised
and so touched--they really, really, really loved it.
Thanks for helping to make it so special to us all.
My mom mentioned how the songs were perfect
for the video too! Thanks again!"
elli-- College Station, TX

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