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Endless fun, relaxation during snow days

Living in Minnesota definitely has its downfalls, but we're tough folks.

We spend a third of the year in below-freezing temperatures, where a 32 degree day in January means long sleeves, where most people elsewhere would be dressed in parkas. But no matter how miserable winter might get here, I wouldn't take back a minute of growing up as a Minnesotan.

Being a Minnesota kid, meant growing up on ice skates, or with a sled in one hand and a cup of hot chocolate in the other. It meant learning to crave the smell of wood burning in the fireplace and the amazing sparkle of Christmas lights reflecting off an endless abyss of snow, and most importantly, it meant growing up to cherish the necessity of a snow day.

I honestly don't think there's a better place in the country to be able to enjoy all four seasons, and their differences. But growing up, there was no better feeling than waking up the morning after a blizzard, turning on the TV and seeing the words Detroit Lakes Public Schools CANCELED!

I remember there was a movie that came out in the early 2000s called "Snow Day," which played out the events of an absolutely perfect snow day, and I remember trying to live up to that movie as a kid.

After I found out school was canceled for the day, I would instantly call every friend I had to see if they were going to be in town to partake in the fun of not being in school. As soon as I found one or more friends to spend the day out, we would always start off by watching that movie to spark our ever-crazy young imaginations.

By the time I was in third grade, I even had a full list of things I either wanted to accomplish on a snow day at some point, or had accomplished with wonderful success. That list consisted of anything from building an all out ice fortress to sledding down Indian Hill backwards.

We did have some pretty awesome times though. I remember one year, we had split off into different neighborhood groups, or cliques of friends, and there was six different groups of us who met up on the grounds of Rossman Elementary and each built our own forts of which we spent the day of protecting, and invading.

In all honesty, we were some pretty relentless little tykes. We would go charging at another fort, snow balls and ice chunks in hand, and bombard it until it was either destroyed, or in our possession. I won and lost a lot of forts in my day.

Through those exciting times I also had my calm and relaxing snow days, which were fun, but basic. The farthest back I can remember was in second grade when my friend, Michael, and I saw the movie "Agent Cody Banks" for the first time.

We went to City Park and tried to recreate Cody's awesome stunts, with nothing other than a sled and a broken snowboard. I remember that day ending in calm chaos after I flew down the hill backwards on my sled, and ended up in an open pond of freezing water to officially scar me for life.

Nowadays, snow days aren't anything like they were when I had a crazy imagination. All I tend to think about is how I'll have to make up that day of school at the end of May, when it's nice outside, and the desire to be sitting in school is at a minimum.

But this year, if there are any snow days to come, I plan on taking full advantage of them and have a good time in the beauty of Minnesota's winter -- just like I used to when I was a young one.

Jonah Bowe is a senior at Detroit Lakes High School.