I learned to ice-skate in the moors near my grandfather’s garden. Since everyone I knew was an apartment dweller, it was a popular thing to rent a garden plot to spend your summers in. There, you built a one-room-cabin type structure called a “Laube”, a dump toilet, and you were all set. My grandfather’s was near the Seeve River, about the size of the average Boise irrigation ditch, which would overflow every fall, and flood the moors. When it froze, you would end up with a lovely, smooth area for skating.
I was about 5 or 6 when I learned. The first day on real skates, I awkwardly crossed the ice in more of a walk than a slide, holding my grandfather’s hand for the first tries. By the end of the day, I remember fascinatedly looking at my knees, which by that point resembled a bluish-black pulpy mass more than their usual selves. I learned though – and after that, every winter included skate outings, flying over the ice until it got too dark.
Yesterday, we went to the ice rink in town. It’s not quite the same as being outside on a frozen lake, but the joy on my daughter’s face was the same look I remember. “Look Mom, I can do a figure eight!” Memories…
(and yes, I was skating, too…)