Thursday, December 17, 2020

Let It Snow Let It Snow



It snowed in Philadelphia last night, and for many people that was the one thing that has been normal so far these last few months. It had been a few years since the area had a snowstorm of any substantial amount, and this felt a bit like old home week. 5-10 inches of snow throughout the region is normal for us, and it felt good to see something normal occur. Of course, this is 2020, so even this bit of “normal” came with its own set of extenuating circumstances. How do you do a “snow day’ in schools when school buildings are already closed? And if you have personal time benefits at work, is this a day when you can use them, especially if you have been working from home? Nothing, it seems, is straight forward anymore.

 I used to love snow days as a kid. Waking up to the news that “All Phila public and parochial schools are closed” was wonderful. It meant I could stay home, sleep a little later, and go play out in the white stuff.  As I got older I had to shovel, of course, but that did not take the whole day. I had plenty of time to engage in trying to build snowmen, having snowball fights, and going sledding on our Flexible Flyer sleds. I don’t remember being much good at building snowmen, but I always tried. Occasionally a snowball would turn out to be ‘an iceball, and I did get hurt. But it was still fun.

Often Mom would make homemade soup on snow days, and coming into the house, cold and shivering, and being greeted by the aroma and feel of fresh soup was always special to me. I still make soups and stews in fall and winter to this day just to relive that sensory experience. Soup is still a comfort food for me, and smelling it cooking in the house always feels like a mom’s hug.

As I became a teacher, snow days became mixed bags. I had to be an adult and look at things with an eye toward bigger, more important problems. I did not always like that. There were days where I had a trip or test scheduled, and re-arranging those could be difficult in any school’s schedule. There were also the days in which a test was scheduled, a snow day possibility would be announced a couple of days earlier, the day would come but the snow day was canceled. As a teacher you knew the students hadn’t studied as well                                                                                                                                                    on such days. I never kept a formal count, but I know absences were always higher on such days.

I know I didn’t realize it when I was a kid, but teachers wanted snow days too!  There were some freezing winter days when I, as a tired and overworked teacher, simply wanted a day to pull up the covers, sleep in, and not have to go out in the cold to face a bunch of middle school kids.  These were the snow days that I really loved, although I did not let my students know that. They were special days, indeed.

Philadelphia schools had a snow day yesterday, and I know a lot of teachers and students alike were very glad for that. Remote teaching and learning is difficult, and we have been doing it non-stop for months. We really needed a break. New York City did not have a snow day yesterday, and I saw interviews with a number of NYC teachers who were quite upset and angry. They really wanted that day. If another big snow comes, I hope they can get it. Sometimes we just need a break-a change in routine. Every now and then folks just need to break the pattern for a while. Snow days can give us that, and we don’t even have to plan them or make them happen. Nature takes care of that for us, and that can be looked at as an unmerited gift. And we can embrace it. Happy shoveling.


Harmonica player John Colgan-Davis will be doing a live streaming concert with acoustic blues guitarist-singer Johnny Never this Friday, 5:00 PM until 6:00 PM from Rising Sun Studios in MD. It will be an hour of traditional and original songs in Delta, Piedmont, and swing styles. Join from the comfort of your home for a great hour of music. The link for the concert is:


Hope you can make it!


  The recent upticks in local COVID infections means that the Dukes are going to lay low until next spring at the earliest. By that time vaccines should have been distributed widely enough that clubs and festivals can get back in action. We want to thank all of our fans and friends for hanging in there and for responding to these newsletters and sending e-mails. We so miss playing for you!. We are looking forward to the time when we can safely do it live again. Until then Happy Holidays. Please stay safe, be careful and be well.

Missing Dukes Sounds?

Dukes Live Dukes of Destiny - Chain of Fool's

Dukes CD's: Thinking of holiday gifts. You can get our third CD, “3”, and our most recent CD, "Higher," or a download card of “Higher.”. You can order them via the Dukes website or directly from me. You can also pick up CD's at these select outlets:

CD Baby online dukesofdestiny2

Hideaway Music 8232 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA  215-248-4434