From Pipi’s Pasture: Snowy Spring Breaks
When I was a kid growing up on the ranch at Morapos, our country school never celebrated a spring break. Instead, we got the Friday off before Easter and maybe the Monday after, too. It was an Easter holiday—not a spring break. For that matter, I don’t remember spring break until I was in college. However, my most vivid memories of spring break was when I was teaching at Highland High School in Ault, Colorado and at Eaton High School that was just down the road at Eaton, Colorado.
Spring break came, as it does now, about the second week in March. By then the winter snow had melted off our yard, and it was a family “tradition” to plant sweet peas then. Sometimes we planted some early garden crops, too. We planned it that way because we usually got a big, sloppy snow just afterwards—during spring break.
I can’t write about spring break snow without mentioning snows in general around the Ault/Eaton area. They can be real “doozies” because the snow often arrives with wind. Being raised in the mountains, I was not prepared for the consequences of wind and even just a very few inches of snow in the “flatlands.” I couldn’t believe how snow could blow off the fields and right onto Highway 14. Big drifts made travel impossible.
If school was in session and school officials got word that snow and wind were on the way, they quickly made plans to dismiss school so the buses could get the kids home safely before the storm hit. Sometimes the school board members drove out onto the county roads, making certain conditions would permit the buses to get through. Everyone feared getting buses stranded in a blizzard.
So this leads to spring break. Almost always a storm hit just before, during, or just after spring break. It was a heavy snow with wind. I can remember one morning before school was in session. I was looking out the windows of my upstairs biology room, and I noticed some horses running in a field across the highway.
“It’s going too storm” I thought. There were only a couple of days left that week before spring break.
Since I was a science teacher, my students were heavily involved in local, state, and national science fairs, held the last week of March through the middle of May. So my students were working hard on posters, reports, and other things that had to be completed in order to get their projects ready for competition. I always made sure that they took their project supplies home during spring break, but the day I saw the horses running, I suggested they take everything home, just in case there was an early storm. Good thing, too because the snow storm did hit early, and we were out of school before the scheduled break.
No matter exactly what day it arrived, there was almost (maybe always) a spring break storm, and that’s what I thought about this morning when I woke up to two inches of snow.
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