School was canceled Monday because of three inches of snow that fell overnight. April’s custom is to leave snow once during its first week. (That’s why I leave winter tires on the car till about now.) Finding anything positive about snow in April is tough, but yesterday I took the dog for an early afternoon walk and found a couple of kids making snowmen. One, Bella, is an exuberant strawberry-blonde charmer. Seeing me, she called out, “Can you believe it’s April?” Implicit in her question was this subtext: “Why, in all my seven years, I just haven’t seen the likes of this!” (Also implicit: the sentiments of her parents, who met as students at Michigan State University.) Then Bella explained that the completed snowman was a snowwoman—Judy, I think—and Mike, her mate, was under construction. A pair of snow children and a dog were scheduled in phase two of the project. Bella spritzed Judy with diluted red dye, while the other girl applied the blue.
Another neighbor, Vince, pushed a plastic shovel across the windshield of his minivan to clear away the sloppy snow while his young daughter explained that school was canceled and she was glad. I asked for a prediction on the championship game between Michigan State and North Carolina. From where we stood, it was just 50 miles to Ford Field, which hosted the Final Four. Vince picked MSU because of the home-court advantage. We exchanged certitudes about the Spartans’ momentum, how they had made the Connecticut Huskies look ordinary in Saturday night’s game, and the meaninglessness of the first match, last December, between MSU and UNC (Tar Heels 98-Spartans 63). Yet the Heels would confidently approach the contest—no doubt about that.
The family directly across the street flew a large Michigan State flag. (They also had been displaying at the curb a table and three chairs—patio furniture—with a “free” sign.) The oldest of the three daughters is an MSU freshman, and by the comings and goings over there I could feel the excitement increasing. But this is Ann Arbor. I can think of only one or two other MSU flags in our subdivision. There isn’t so much crossover between supporters of Michigan and Michigan State. One friend who’s a Michigan alumnus said he just can’t root for Sparty, except to increase the stakes in bragging rights when the Wolverines beat them next year.
Calder Bros. Farm Dairy truck number 1032 (Dairy … Lincoln Park • Farm … Carleton, MI) has just stopped, and the driver loaded all the furniture but one chair into the cargo compartment and took it away. The MSU flag still flies proud on this day of cold and flurries.