Today was supposed to be the last day of my school’s fall term, with a Thanksgiving meal at noon. In a year of changes, this was a big one: after more than fifty years, our school Thanksgiving celebration was moved off the national holiday to allow staff and students a week’s vacation. The work pace became frantic as teachers struggled to finish up units four days early, grade papers, and prepare for two hundred parent guests. For the past two weeks I have been up at 3:30 every morning, working over coffee.
At the last minute, the weather threw in an added twist: a big snowstorm was suddenly predicted to hit this morning. As the forecasts became more and more dire, yesterday at mid-day the decision was made to move the Thanksgiving feast to last night.
At that point I had been at school working on my classroom since 6 AM. The evening before there had been a “Welcome parents” cocktail party at our home from 5 to 8:30 PM. Yesterday morning I taught all my exhibition classes, and from 1 to 5 PM, held sixteen consecutive 15-minute parent conferences. During the breakfast and lunch breaks, I raced home to walk the dogs, change into coveralls, do my barn chores, pull on dress clothes again, and race back to work. (During one of these trips I accidentally left the car lights on and the battery went dead. I leapt into my truck for the return trip.)
In short, by the time I sat down to turkey and pie, I had very few remaining brain cells. However, the entire school community rallied to cope with the sudden changes. The mood was glassy-eyed but cheerful.
This morning I woke as usual at 3:30 AM. The snow began a little after 4. I have a big list of farm chores to accomplish before either the ground freezes or the snow gets too deep. The farm is not buttoned up for winter, and winter is here.
Though I’m tired, I am very excited by the prospect of a week to try to catch up.