It's a strange tradition that didn't exist in the So Cal environs where I grew up.
Every time the weather folk on the local news stations here in the panhandle state start warming up their cold weather comedy routine for a winter storm, my Wife starts waxing poetic about her youthful evenings spent huddled around the old Zenith, waiting for the school closing announcements.
That's right. They actually close schools here for ice, snow, and bad weather days.
Now, don't get me wrong, living here now, I'm all for it. In fact, when they announce the school year calendar in the fall, the snow days are factored right into the schedule.
Course, this is only Oklahoma, not Chicago, or Fargo, or one of those little towns in Vermont that are impossible to pronounce.
Still, Oklahoma is no slouch when it comes to frequent bouts of the icy and snowy stuff. Occasionally there's enough around to make the roads relatively treacherous for rubber shoed vehicles, the air too frigid to take a deep breath, and the backyard which is normally a brown, dead mess during the winter to be covered in a blanket of white so beautiful, that wasting a day in class when the kiddies could be out in it, making snow angels, minuscule snowmen, and putting some miles on their Radio Flyer sled, almost a non-issue.
But it all stems from the scroll, the constant and never ending listing of names that all the networks roll across their televised real estate, alphabetically announcing what schools, businesses, and community activities will be closed the next day due to the slippery stuff.
During last nights evening news, a few of the surrounding communities had called in their school closings, but our community held fast. Then, on the 10 p.m. news, when the girls had gone to bed without the knowledge of a pending day off, we spotted our school's name and knew that somewhere in dreamland, our girls were doing the happy-snow-day dance.
We almost missed it due to the equally important announcement that the Bud Elder Dance Academy was closed down as well.
That's right, the Bud Elder Dance Academy.
Seems Bud Elder (not a dance teacher) has some clever, jocular friends, who derive some joy in putting one over on both their friend, Bud Elder, and the network news stations. Apparently some in the state media machine (my wife included), know from whence this gag originated, and who the focus of the friendly jib-jab is aimed. The only unknown is who is perpetrating the gag on a regular, snow-closing basis.
In the past several times we've had snow cancellations, we'll inevitably spot the Bud Elder Dance Academy closing and have a good chortle at the news programs expense.
Like most practical jokes, this one is made possible due to the frenzy caused by the change in weather. The news networks don't have time to check out the legitimacy of every incoming call or email therefore Bud Elder keeps sneaking past the News Intern whose job it is to take the info and type it into the text file for the scroll.
Still and all, it's both a comfort and a quick chuckle to see Bud's name in the scroll, reminding us that no matter how bad it gets out there, humor will always prevail.
Dance on Bud Elder, dance on.