Living in Eastern Ontario, Canada, snow in winter is inevitable. It looks so pretty, especially around Christmas time. Believe me, it quickly loses its appeal, especially during the week.
When I was working as a teacher, the routine of getting up earlier than usual to go out and start the car and clean off the snow was a common one that could start as early as late October. That snow rarely stayed, but it was a warmup for what was to come. By December, the white stuff was here for the duration. On snowy mornings, I would get into the warm vehicle and take my life in my hands driving on barely plowed streets to get to my school.
If it wasn’t too bad, the buses would be running, and the kids would be there. Occasionally, the weather would deteriorate, and the buses would be back early to pick them up. More often than not, erring on the side of caution, the buses would be cancelled. Apparently, the roads would be too treacherous for heavy yellow buses to travel, but safe enough for teachers in flimsy sedans. Go figure!
Canceled buses didn’t necessarily mean there would be no students. If children were too young to be left alone and no magical babysitter or parent were around to watch them, the little darlings would be dropped off at the door, hopefully dressed for the weather, and the teachers became babysitter of the day, herding the kids from one play activity to another, one movie to another, or one outdoor recess to another.
I spent most of my career in education working in secondary schools, teaching English to students in grades 9 through 13. On snow days, the number of students was proportionate to the time of day. At the first bell and attendance, you might have a third of your class there. By noon, the school was empty. Now, that might sound like an easy day for a teacher–it wasn’t. Just like that, the teacher’s plans for the day and the week flew out the window. Every lesson had to be moved. Even if there were kids in the class, you weren’t allowed to cover new material. If a snow day occurred during examination days, then every exam for the day was canceled and moved to the next, moving the exam for that day and so on. The only thing that never moved was the day final marks had to be in the office.
Since I’ve retired, snow days don’t annoy me quite so much. For a while, I would go over and babysit my grandchildren, but now they are all in their teens and a snow day for them is time to sleep in. Today, it’s another day before the exam needs to be written, time to get just a bit more cramming in. The birds are settling in for a long day and so am I, working on my newest manuscript.
As a kid, I loved days like this, perfect for making snow angels and building snow forts. It’s not sticky enough for snowmen, but as the temperature climbs, it may be.
As an adult, since I was never one for winter sports and can’t ski, I groan about shoveling snow, although that simply means some light shoveling around the door. We’re fortunate enough to have a neighbor who looks after the driveway. Tomorrow, the sun will be out, the temperature will climb and some of this will melt away, until the next time it starts all over again.
Since snowstorms are such a large part of my winters, I’ve included one in The Regal Rose, my new book currently available for pre-order. Here’s a preview of what it’s like to drive in the snow.
Anna squinted through the windshield, the wipers barely making a dent in the snow that was falling harder now than it had earlier. The windshield defroster was on full blast but seemed to be having little effect. The weather combined with her nerves eroded what little was left of her confidence.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid,” she said aloud, her voice echoing inside the rental car. “If the storm was bad enough to shut down an airport, what made me think I could drive through it?”
This whole side trip had been a colossal mistake. The closer she got to Abbot’s Cove, the more convinced she was that she wouldn’t find Trucker, or if she did find him, he wouldn’t want to have anything to do with her. Besides, as she’d told Erik, he probably had a wife and children. Hell, he might not even recognize her. If that were the case, she would arrange to buy a couple of horses and leave without revealing the truth. At the very least, she might be able to salvage her pride, but deep down, she doubted it.
This was a fool’s errand, and she would probably end up married to some rich, old goat she could barely tolerate. Damn Erik! He’d played the game masterfully, letting her think he was trying to help, tricking her into facing her fears, drawing a promise from her that she’d refused to consider. His call this morning had probably been to ensure she wouldn’t backdown. She didn’t know what he’d told father, but whatever it was had pleased the king. Now, here she was trying to do something that might well be impossible. Unfortunately, neither of them had taken the weather into consideration. As she’d said to Klaus, it snowed in Retsenburg, but never like this. It was as if a cloud had dropped out of the sky and smothered the area with her trapped inside it.
Had agreeing to search for Trucker at Rosemount, the stud farm Erik had suggested, been another calculated error on her part? If he knew about the roses, then he must’ve known who the owners were. Rachel’s Roses. Trucker hadn’t mentioned his mother’s name. If she were his mother then she could give her answers, but what if she wasn’t? The farm was ten miles east of Abbot’s Cove, and that seemed to be the direction from which the storm hailed. As she drove along, the road conditions continued to deteriorate, and it grew dark, making matters worse.
Fifteen minutes later, she sent up a prayer of gratitude when she reached the exit to Abbot’s Cove. As she drove along, she realized that it had been some time since anyone else had and the ruts in the snow that she was following were filling up quickly. She’d passed two cars that had gone off the road but didn’t dare stop for fear of getting stuck. Hopefully, there was no one in them. She honked her horn and was satisfied the cars were empty when she got no response from either vehicle.
She was still three miles from the town and another ten from the stud farm. It was already after five. She’d lost the signal for the radio station, and the car’s GPS was offline. If ever there was a sign that she’d made another bad decision, this was it.
“I’m going to stop at the first hotel or motel I see, get a room, and stay put until the storm ends. It’s the only sensible thing to do … not that I’ve been sensible so far.”
Gritting her teeth and gripping the steering wheel so tightly that her fingers ached, she continued her drive into the unknown.
The snow persisted. Anna’s progress was slow, her speed down to less than twenty miles an hour, and the headache she’d nursed all day was back with a vengeance. Didn’t they have snowplows in this country? When she saw the sign indicating that she’d reached the outskirts of town, she let out a sigh of relief that quickly turned to dismay. Driving along the main street, she saw nothing that resembled a place to stay. To make matters worse, it was dark, and there were no lights of any kind to indicate people lived there—no neon signs, no streetlamps, not even a traffic signal. It was as if the entire town had shut down for the winter. Visibility was poor; she couldn’t even tell where the side streets were.
The Regal Rose is available only in the Irresistible – New Beginnings With Your First Love box set available in February 2023. Watch for it!
Want a break from the cold and snow? Check out Desert Deception, in the Unforgettable Devotion box set. https://www.amazon.com/Unforgettable-Devotion-Passion-Rachelle-Ayala-ebook/dp/B0BRWSSYG3
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I’m a retired high school English teacher turned author. I’m Canadian. My husband and I have been married 48 years and have 3 children and 5 grandchildren, as well as 2 step-grandchildren. I enjoy traveling, especially somewhere warm in winter.