good ice, bad ice

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This is not good ice.

My father spent his winters looking for “good ice”.  He loved to play hockey, loved to be on ice skates, and enjoyed hauling us from pond to pond in his quest for “good ice”.  He would come home from work and announce that he’d driven by such-and-such pond and he’d seen people skating on it and…off we’d go.  Nothing would make my father stop a car faster than seeing people ice skating.

I still look for good ice, out of habit, gawking out the car window to see if various local ponds have frozen over.  Good ice is a pond that has frozen like glass, does not have frozen ripples from the wind or snow melted into it destroying the surface, and is not covered with a ton of snow.  Though some snow is not an issue, if it is covering good ice.  A couple of snow shovels and some boys who want to play hockey can clean off a large section of ice in no time.

Sometimes my father would try out a local outdoor rink, but those places were usually too crowded.  He preferred the local ponds or the rivers surrounded by woods and out of the wind.  While he and my brother and the neighborhood kids played hockey, I practiced my Peggy Fleming moves and attempted to dance to the music in my head.  I was skinny and quiet and I loved to skate.  He would always skate with me, too.  Arm and arm we’d go for a dance around the pond, with him singing happily to give us a beat to follow.  There might be a fire and the roasting of hot dogs, too, if it was a weekend day and the ice was so good that no one wanted to go home until dark.

When I was in high school, the popular boys would call our house on Sunday morning and ask to speak to my father.  They knew who to call when they found “good ice” somewhere and wanted a pick up hockey game.

But there is good ice and bad ice and as you see from the photo, nothing is going to skate on here except our car and the UPS truck.

And no one is dancing to the music.

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4 Responses to good ice, bad ice

  1. Sharon says:

    I can picture you and your dad skating arm in arm while the boys played hockey nearby.
    What a lovely memory.

  2. Ottis Winslow says:

    i remember. Good ice and happy memories.

  3. Pat says:

    Kristine, what a great post. You brought back a lot of my own happy memories of my Dad taking us skating on “good ice”. Next to one favorite pond was an ice cream shack (for summer days), with a sign that read “Closed for Season, Reason… Freezin'”. Funny the little things you remember.

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