Slush

We never know when we’ll get snow here in South Carolina. We once went several years without much more than a little flurry that melted the instant it touched the ground, so when we do have snow, we have to make the most of it. We have to get out into it, feel it, hear it (if it’s mixed with ice crystals, which it often is here).

So last night, with dinner done and the kitchen cleaned up, we all took the dog for a walk in the snow. Unfortunately, the snow was mixed with rain, and what lay about the road was a slushy mix that got everyone wet almost immediately. K and the kids turned back quickly; I went with the dog for another mile or so.

Today proved to be better. It was supposed to stay below freezing all night, and there was a forecast for continued snow throughout the morning. And fall it did — big fluffy flakes that floated down delicately that would then transform to smaller flakes that fell quickly. Back and forth between the two forms of snow throughout the morning.

But the kids begin still sick, we were reticent to let them out. The Boy and I decided to play a bit of chess. He’s learning piece by piece. For a few weeks, we played only with pawns until he got the hang of their basic nuance. Then we added bishops — after all, they move in a way similar to how pawns attack. Then rooks. Finally, knights. We spent several evenings just practicing how knights moved.

“Daddy, can we play with rooks, bishops, and knights now?” he asked this morning, and so we went for it.

“Are you sure you want to move there?” became my mantra. Occasionally, he would look and reconsider.

“Oh, no! You can take me there!”

“But can you take me back?”

And so we played. I made purposefully stupid moves for him to take advantage of, but I made a little rule for myself: if he didn’t reconsider his move after I suggested it, I would take the piece, so in the end, I won. (The aim in king-less/queen-less chess? Get one pawn to the other end of the board so that it can’t be taken. It’s how I teach my students at schoool as well.)

Still the snow fell — but almost none of it was sticking to the roads, which were wet and relatively warm.

“Maybe we’ll have a snow day Monday!” L pondered.

“Likely not.”

Still, we have a large district, and we have had snow days when there’s not a flake on the ground here because of what was going on in the northernmost edges of the district.

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