Lions and tigers and blizzards, oh my! Lions and tigers and whiteouts, oh my! Lions and tigers and cancellations, oh my! What have we come to? Don’t we live in Maine, and don’t we have winter weather? Now we get cancellations a whole day before the events.

Please don’t get me wrong. I absolutely realize that we are safer and that we have avoided countless accidents with the proactive weather reports. And after spending almost 50 years working in school systems in one capacity or another, I still love getting the notification that schools are closed. If and when I truly retire, I think that’s one of the things I will miss most. But just a little bit of me wishes for the “olden days.”

That’s when we really didn’t have great weather forecasts, at least ones that I was privy to. Yes, you heard people say, “Sky looks pretty gray, looks like snow.” My favorite were the accumulation predictions based on the size of the flakes: “Small snow equals big snow; big snow equals small snow,” which actually is usually pretty accurate.

But more often than not, you went to bed after completing your homework, and you woke up and heard the fire station whistles and knew school was canceled. It was actually quite a great surprise because you weren’t planning on it. Now we have snow cancellation apps for your phone. I mean, really, how much fun is that? Where’s the wonder? Where’s the surprise?

But now, in the interest of full disclosure (I do want to be politically correct), it may be that in the 1950s and ’60s there were great weather forecasts. It could very well have been that my parents never paid any particular attention to the weather forecast. I have no recollection of them ever listening to a radio weather forecast or even talking about the weather. I’m not even sure we had a working radio. They were from Aroostook County, and I think those people just kept on keeping on. “Too much snow, well, bring on the horse and the roller. Cancel an event? You must be kidding. How would we let people know?”

My parents would put all five of us in the station wagon and head for Mars Hill in a heartbeat. I’m pretty sure we didn’t have car seats, but we did learn to sing all the verses to “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”

As I write this, I hear our wonderful South Portland maintenance vehicles going past our house clearing the road. They will do this many times during the night. I feel quite safe knowing they are watching out for us. I know that because of advance cancellations, there will be fewer vehicles on the road and everyone will be safer. But just a little bit of me misses the surprise I had as a child, of waking up to see mountains of snow around my windows and wondering what the day would bring.


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