I miss a lot of things about my childhood home, the forest adventures, the small community…but mostly, I miss the lake. In the summer I practically lived in that lake, whether I was swimming or doing various water sports, and in the winter, I was skating on it. I really miss my skating adventures.
My best friend Lisa‘s Dad (or Daddy Brook, as I called him) and their next door neighbour cleared a giant skating rink on the lake every year in front of their cottage. It was seriously huge, well-lit (for night time skating!) and they kept it plowed all winter. It was awesome. All the kids in the neighbourhood would come over for skating parties.
I skated on it every chance I got. I loooved skating. My parents put me in figure skating lessons when I was pretty young, and I would fantasize about being a professional figure skater like Kristi Yamaguchi.
I idolized Kristi Yamoguchi for years. I would pretend I was her.
Anyway, although we had a safe place to skate, we inevitably had a few skating mishaps.
One time when Lisa and I were about 11, we were skating around on the cleared rink, and we could see some boys playing hockey on the lake in the distance (actually it was around where Dawn and I sank the rowboat, also on a hunt for boys, coincidentally). We decided to hop the snowbank that surrounded the rink, and skate over a little closer to the action to get a better look and see who the mysterious boys were.
As we got closer to the boys, we tried to get their attention and impress them by looking like expert skaters.
It probably looked more like this though:
We were so concerned about our hot skating moves, we didn’t notice we were skating on (literally) thin ice.
Until we suddenly fell through. Both of us. At the same time.
We immediately panicked and started screaming for someone to help us.
Thankfully, we only fell through a thin top layer of the ice, and there was another thicker layer a few feet down. Once we realized we could stand, we simmered down a little bit.
We expected the boys to be concerned and come over to help us. But they did not.
Instead, they laughed at us.
We managed to crawl out of the ice, and, absolutely soaked, freezing, and embarrassed, made our way back to Lisa’s cottage.
When we got back, we told Daddy Brook our story about how we fell through the ice and how the boys had laughed at us. After he made us hot chocolate and ensured we were in warm, dry clothes, he decided he wanted to investigate the ice for himself.
So, he broke out his ice boat, which is basically a sailboat with blades on it.
That is a real picture of Daddy Brook in his actual ice boat on our actual lake. Pretty groovy.
He wanted to sail the boat over to where our mishap occurred to “check out the ice.” We told him not to go, but he already had it in his head that it was a good idea, and there was no talking him out of it.
We watched from Lisa’s cottage window as he sailed the ice boat over towards the boys.
Annnd, he and the ice boat fell through the ice in the exact spot we did.
And of course, the boys laughed at him.
He got out of the ice unharmed, but the boat was not so lucky. It was stuck in the ice. He ended up walking back to the cottage and corralling a bunch of neighbours to help him pull it out.
Lisa and I watched the entire thing from the window and laughed for ages about the incident. But we were so mad at those boys for laughing. We never forgot about those jerks.
Years later, I was dating my first real boyfriend, and we were telling eachother funny stories from our childhood. He told me a story about how one time he and his friends were playing ice hockey on the lake, and these two girls skated over and fell through the ice in front of them. He said the funniest thing was, 10 minutes later some guy in an ice boat sailed over and fell through in the exact same spot. He said it was one of the funniest things he had ever seen, and he was dying laughing as he regaled me with his story.
Needless to say, we were not meant to be.