ice covered branches

Old Man Winter left tree branches covered in ice outside in Mansfield.

MANSFIELD -- Snow days were rare in suburban St. Louis when I grew up.

It wasn’t because there was a lack of winter weather, but rather because we — to the dismay of my fellow students — would rarely get the chance to window watch the world from our sofas and let the cartoons run through the non-existent school day.

My parents convinced me it was because our district superintendent was from Alaska.

I remember most school-less days in similar fashion. My soon-to-be step-brother and best childhood friend made a plan to meet at a local laundry station.

There was a vending machine that sold Sunkist Orange, something I would never dream of consuming today, but back then, that was our elixir.

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Noah Jones

In summer days we could be seen walking to the Corner Laundry, spending $2 on the soda and a bag of peanut M&M’s. We juggled them in our hands holding a basketball with Michigan State’s logo on our way to Ralph M. Captain Elementary School. 

But the snow day was different. The day felt foreign to me. My mother, worked as a doctor at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, my sister had left for her own holiday, I found myself alone.

To this day, I remember a feeling of uncertainty of how to spend the day. 

I used AOL instant messenger to get in touch with my step-brother. We decided to walk to the coffee shop across from the elementary school.

That was the first day I can recall trying to be observant, taking the time to notice the differences from the day before in the neighborhood. The ice that clung to street signs and chains lining sidewalks. The snow between the cracks in tree bark.

The world was beautiful.

Whenever I see ice covering tree branches or icicles formed on a car or street sign, I smile and remember the good days of my childhood, the uniqueness of getting to spend a weekday doing whatever I wanted with my best friend and the fascination I had with the changing world around me.

I remember how much fun it was to be a kid, walking in a winter wonderland. 

It’s important to see the beauty in things.

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Staff Reporter

Noah Jones is host to The Open Mic Podcast -- available on Apple Podcasts! He is the crime, education and music reporter for Richland Source. He is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and a giant Cardinals fan.