Even though I hurt so much in the winter, I still liked to play in the snow, like all kids, and I still liked to ice-skate.
There is no feeling quite like a new pair of skates. First, your dad grinds off that stupid extra-low tooth on the bottom of the blade that always catches. (I wonder why Michelle’s dad didn’t grind it off of hers?) Then, you lace them up good and tight, so that your ankles are supported when you skate around.
I loved skating backward. It’s easier than skating forward, because all you have to do is lean from side to side to race along. I also loved Crack the Whip. Do kids still play that?
Everyone joins hands, with the fastest skaters at the front. When the leader changes direction, in a tight turn, the kids at the end get whipped around really fast. Sometimes you can’t hold on, and go flying off on your own. It’s a little scary, and a lot of fun.
The video below shows a really short whip of four skaters, and only two “cracks”, but it was the only vid I could find to illustrate how very quickly speed accumulates, and what can happen. Even with only four, the skater on the end can really fly.
I’d only skate for a little while before my feet hurt too much to walk. Then, I’d hang out at the oil drum, which always had a fire burning inside it to warm our hands. I wished I could lift my feet up to the top!
When we played at home, in the snow in our front yard, I could always run indoors and put my hands in hot water to thaw them. Then, there’d be a pair of dry mittens waiting, and out I’d go again. My feet hurt but they stayed dry, because inside our boots we wore plastic bread bags held up with rubber bands. All the kids did.
There was one outdoor place in the winter where I was comfortable. After the snowplow came around, it would leave big snow mounds several feet high on the sides of the road, which meant the sides of our property. We would tunnel into one of the biggest mounds and make a cave.
This was my favorite winter spot. I’d take a book in and read (a lot of light leaks into these caves), or just curl up and think. The inside of a snow cave feels warm and cozy. Did you ever go in one?
In the winter, after you’re done playing outside comes the best part. When you come inside, and the warm air touches you, your face burns. Then, your mom sits you down at the table and gives you a bowl of hot, hot chicken soup.
There is nothing like the taste of that hot soup. The hotness spreads from your inside out, and you feel happy, happy, happy.