Celebrating the first snow day of a new year

New Year's Day Snowstorm 3414

First big snow day. // Photo by Jim Nimmo

I have a neighbor who summed up this holiday season better than anyone I know. She left her Halloween skeleton on her front porch with a Santa hat and a Christmas tree. The perfect visualization of the 2020 holiday season.

It was an atypical holiday season at best and New Year’s Eve 2020 was no exception. At 11:15 p.m. I was at home. There were no parties or events to shoot pictures for. There were no bars to tend or guests to serve in a restaurant. Instead of chatting with party-goers I texted back and forth with my 13-year-old grandson as we watched Anderson Cooper on CNN. At midnight we listened to the automatic gunfire rocking our neighborhood and wondered whether it was celebratory or merely the beginning of the Zombie Apocolypse.

After all, it was 2020.

Then it began to rain. Then ice. Then snow. 

On January 1, I awoke early and left the house to miserable roads and more snow. Definitely not looking good for 2021. I watched people trudging over snow-covered sidewalks as I drove and there was not a smile in sight. But somehow during that first day of January, something happened. I ended my day in the Brookside neighborhood and that unexpected snow day (that just happened to coincide with a legal holiday) gave everyone a day to give in to their inner child.

People were shoveling with a smile while watching children and dogs play in the snow. Rockhurst University students started snowball fights with each other and built snow forts. Grandfathers braved Suicide Hill on sleds borrowed from their grandchildren. And throughout the neighborhood rang laughter. It’s been a long time since I have heard that many people laughing.

It gave me hope. As we face the challenges of a new year, we can do so with the memory that the year started with smiles and laughs. Proof that good times still happen. There are always better days ahead.

Photo essay below:

Categories: Culture