Yes, Virginia, There Still are Snow Days

A take on what the city’s snowstorm means for school children

| 17 Dec 2020 | 03:38

Dear Editor:

I am 8 years old.

Some of my little friends say there are no more snow days.

Papa says, “If you see it in Straus News it’s so.”

Please tell me the truth; are there still snow days?

Virginia O’Hanlon.

115 West Ninety-Fifth Street.

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the negativism of a negative age. They do not believe except when they all believe the same thing. They think that nothing can be which is not reducible to a standardized test to measure and compare. But not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts. This is difficult for our city leaders to get their little minds around. All minds, Virginia, whether they be adults’ or children’s, are little, as compared with the boundless world about us, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there are still snow days. Not this week in New York City, alas! But others this week have seen how dreary would be the world if there were no Snow days anywhere. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginia. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, nor runs down the hill in Riverside Park. We should have no enjoyment, and the eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

No more snow days! You might as well not have the Disney channel or cell phones! Take heart, Virginia. Not all adults are as Scrooge-like as New York’s Mayor, who took away what would have been your snow day and insisted on Zoom classes.

In Jefferson County, West Virginia the school superintendent still sees the world through children’s eyes. “For generations, families have greeted the first snow day of the year with joy,” Bondy Shay Gibson wrote to parents and students. “It is a time of renewed wonder at all the beautiful things that each season holds. A reminder of how fleeting a childhood can be ... For all these reasons Jefferson county schools will be completely closed tomorrow, Dec 16, in honor of the first snow day of the year.” Gibson said the kids could get back to the serious business of growing up on Thursday.

You know, Virginia, there are also adults who know the world can not stay the same, yet we must also protect our special times for family and childhood. Schools were closed in Westland, Michigan for a day this week, not because of snow but because Gmail and all the other Google services crashed. You probably noticed? “This is the new snow day,” Jenny Johnson declared from the Wayne-Westland Community Schools.

No snow days? Thank God, they continue. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, Snow days will continue to make glad the heart of childhood. Next year, Virginia, your parents get to vote for a new Mayor who, perhaps, will have a different view on snow days.

Oh, by the way, Virginia. Did you have a great-grandmother or some other relative who wrote to The Sun in 1897 to ask if there really was a Santa Claus? An editor there named Francis Pharcellus Church was assigned to write back. I think he always wondered whether he had convinced that earlier Virginia that, yes, there is a Santa Claus. I wonder if maybe your parents know?

- Mike Oreskes on behalf of every kid sitting inside today.