"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rockwell Moments on Ice - Spending Treasure XIV

Recently, a friend of mine wrote about an ice skating experience she had this winter. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her challenge in finding skates for her family, and how she ended up with skates for herself. 

When I was younger, ice skating used to be one of my favorite wintertime activities. It has been a lot of years now, since I have skated, but my friend’s blog post invoked such fond memories, I felt compelled to write about some of these memories.

First of all, my love of skating came from my folks.  Both grew up on ice skates, and they encouraged my siblings and me to learn to skate as well. They would often skate hand in hand, and they really just danced on the ice. I love that I was able to share something like that with them.

Mommy and Daddy
Some winters my dad would clear a spot in our garden, and when he knew the temperatures would be below freezing, he would run the garden hose until the garden filled with water. It would freeze overnight and we would have a wonderfully smooth "rink" to skate on the next day.  What a guy!  How I appreciate the time he took to do that for us.

What a guy!
Across the road from our house, on our neighbors property, was a small gravel pit. It was eventually filled in, to become level pasture; but for years, “the pit” as we called it, would fill up with water during the winter, and almost always freeze to give us an easily accessible “skating rink”. Other kids on our street would sometimes gather there to skate, but mostly it was me, my brother and my younger sister.

We also had a larger pond in our small, country community, where several families would gather at night to skate.  It was all the rage while I was in grade school to skate on Totten’s Pond. I will never forget the first time I was allowed to go to the pond. I think I went with a friend, and I remember being almost overwhelmed and a bit shy about getting out on the pond with so many people there. There were several fires along the banks, and I recognized several of my classmates.  The picture is still engrained in my memory, and it reminds me somewhat of a Norman Rockwell, or a Grandma Moses print when I think of that pond. 

Finally, as my siblings and I grew older, we would skate on the larger lake in our area. Cougar Bay became my favorite skating location, and it is there that these photos were taken. I can’t drive by that bay today, without telling my son, “There is our old skating spot…only that cabin wasn’t there.” “The highway allowed us to park directly in front of the path where we would walk down to the lake.” And on and on, I reminisce some of my fondest memories of what used to be.

One afternoon, after my brother had returned home from the service, we all got together to skate.  The ice was so perfect on the lake that I skated out much further than I should have.  My brother became worried and called me back. I’m glad he did, I’m not sure I would have stopped.  I was not being very wise, in going out as far as I did.  The ice was sure to be weaker the further out I went.  I remember returning to the group and my dad saying in astonishment “You went clear out there!” He had not been watching, probably practicing maneuvers with Mom or something.

Another thing, I did back then, that I would not do now, is skate alone.  I would jump in my ’66 Chevy – my first car - and take off for the lake any time I felt the mood.  That really isn’t very wise either. 

The winters are different here in North Idaho now, than they were back then.  I really wouldn’t skate on the lake now.  It seems we no longer have a winter that is consistently cold; but rather we will have a warm up period, then the temperatures will drop, and then it will warm up again.  That does not make for safe ice. I’m sure the ponds and smaller lakes are safe some winters, but I believe the skating days on the larger lakes are over.  I treasure the memories I have there.

Well, now I’ve relived a few of my fondest memories.  Ice skating was always on my list of favorite things to do.  Not so sure about that now as I’ve aged…I like being warm, and staying by the fire, while reading about younger folks’ experiences! ;-) Besides, my skates don’t fit me any more, now being too narrow. ;-(  

Maybe some day I will venture out on the ice again, but if I don’t I’m glad I have these memories of some very valuable times spent with my family doing something we loved. I’m thankful that I have some photos and "treasure" to spend of our “Rockwell” moments on the ice.

"Rockwell" Moments


  1. What great memories! And I loved seeing the old pictures. I'm glad my post triggered yours. I love that about blogging. I recognize you and your parents... is that C. with you in the bottom picture? What fun!

  2. I love this post and your beautiful pictures. Memories are so special. :)

  3. Yep, that's him! Thanks, Karla!
    Thanks, Tasha! Yes, I think life would be very boring without our memories to make us smile! :-)