First Skates

DCP_6283If you were raised in Canada, you probably spent a lot of time on the local pond or arena, bashing away at pucks. Hockey is a great sport. It gives kids – and parents – something to do in those long winter months. For some with very talented kids it can be every long month of the year.
If you are a Canadian father, it is winter time, you’re really tired of arenas,and believe that the kids have been watching far too much TV and
need to get out in the fresh air, a clever thing to do is to flood the back yard and make your own rink. Making your own rink is actually easier said than done. It took my husband days to figure out how to contain the water, and days more to make the surface somewhat smooth. However he was determined to give the kids some exercise and get them out of their mother’s hair. Getting out of your mother’s hair can be quite a tangle if you are only four years old.
The morning I took Stanley and Eddie for their first outing on
Dad’s new rink, it took half an hour to find their bob skates, which were in the shed. Unfortunately, only three made it through from the previous season. It took another half-hour to get the two suited, booted, mittened and toqued, and to quell the fight about who was going to get two skates and who only one.
Eddie (who got the pair) was first out on the ice. Eyes flashing,
body taught and ready; he stood poised at the edge of the ice for about half a minute, then looked first at his skates, and then at me.
“They don’t work!” he said, with a mixture of shock and dismay.
“They don’t?” I asked.
“No. They don’t work.” He repeated.
I bent down to examine the skates, looked at him blankly and said, “Sure they do.”
“No they don’t,” he repeated firmly. “Look at ‘em – they don’t
I explained that in order for them to work, he had to move his feet
around. This he did, somewhat doubtfully, then announced that all he
was doing was walking around. After about three minutes of this he
turned and headed for the house, passing his brother Stanley, who had finally limped up to the ice on one bob skate.
“They don’t even work, Stanley.” Eddie tossed over his shoulder in disgust.
Stanley stepped out on the ice, his skate-shod limb shot out from
under him and he landed flat on his bottom. I could just barely hear
Eddie over Stanley’s loud wailing, yell, “I told ya they didn’t work.”
When he could finally speak, Stanley glared at me accusingly.
“That ice is slippery, Mom.”
With no further explanation deemed necessary, he too turned and
limped back into the house.
A half-hour later they were de-toqued and de-mittened and pacified
with hot chocolate and a cookie. It was only a matter of minutes later that Eddie proclaimed, “There’s nothin’ to do mom”.
I paused for a moment, then offered,
“I wonder what’s on TV?”

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