Tuesday, January 13, 2009

THE BEST PART OF WINTER


Who else could enjoy the snow and cold more than kids, whose joints don’t ache or who don’t put their backs out shoveling, and have to shell out for a set of snow tires? A kid’s biggest concern is whether or not all that snow that fell through the night is the good “packing” kind (a bit wetter) for snowballs, snowmen and possibly even snow forts, or if it’s the dry fluffy kind that’s better for snow angels and sledding. And what about the ice – has it been cold enough yet?

I remember Detroit winters when I was a kid. We always had plenty of snow, and the backyard was the major focal point of my after-school fun. On weekends when I was a little older, my girlfriends and I would go to the park. In those days the City would go to a park in each neighborhood and flood a special area into a no-frills rink. There were unposted unofficial “rules” about sharing the ice between the really little kids and the twirly girls on their figure skates, and the speedy, rough and tumble boys on hockey skates. There were always some verbal threats about “telling” if someone didn’t want to abide by these mysterious and ever-shifting rules, but we all managed somehow. I remember the winter I finally accomplished (if not mastered) the art of skating backwards…right into an unfrozen pothole near the edge of the rink, and sank one entire foot into the icy water. So for me it was glide/slosh glide/slosh until we all decided it was time for hot chocolate at somebody’s house. Stinging toes and clown-red cheeks, sniffly noses, and wool scarves frosted to our chins from our breath. What could be better!


The top photo is of the Leamington marina a few weeks ago. The deeper lake ice wasn’t safe yet, but close to shore some kids were learning their hockey skills, and a few guys were ice fishing between the boat slips (with the summer ferry to Sandusky, Ohio docked in the background). The bottom photo is of a house on my road. They worked into the night last night with a bobcat and some railroad ties. It’s not all that large – no kid with a hockey stick is going to get much of a breakaway, but that’s not important. When the kids get older, they’ll remember when they used to go skating on the marina, and the winter their dad make a rink by the side of the house.

22 comments:

Naturegirl said...

Deborah anyone who grew up with snow would have these wonderful frozen lake activitiy memories that you remind us of with perfect detail!
"Rink shacks" were little huts with a warm fire burning for unthawing frozen toes and fingers.Perhaps that's why I have joint aches to this day!
We have several such outdoor rinks along the waterfront where I reside. Stay warm.

Sylvia K said...

I love your glimpses "back"! I grew up in west Texas and snow was pretty much an unknown, but I raised my family in Montana and we had the snow and the ice and it was always fun. Even their paper routes at five in the morning were fun and I frequently went with them just to share it. Right after a big storm, it would be so quiet at 5 AM and we'd find ourselves whispering because it was almost like another world and we were the only ones there. All of us loved to take the first bite of snow off one of the evergreens in our front yard. You have lovely memories, too, and thanks for sharing them!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Deb, I guess I'm still a child at heart since I still love winter. Of course I've never lived up north where one has to shovel snow, drive in ice and snow, etc. (My hubby reminds me of that--since he grew up in Indiana and has had his fill of heavy snows.)

Great pictures.
Hugs,
Betsy

Dianne said...

what a great photo - they looks like they rule the world :)

Lin said...

well I mostly grew up in california without snow and loved it. now i'm retired without snow and ice mostly except on rare occasions and love it. but kids do have fun in winter....

Shellmo said...

I love hearing your memories too! I'm thinking about picking up some iceskates and giving my lake a whirl!!

a little bird said...

beautiful photos... I have no memories of snow, black ice, dark winter nights... so it's a pleasure to leap into yours :)

Squirrel said...

I'm still a kid when it comes to snow... hardly enough to build 1 snowman each winter now though. we used to build forts and a crowd of snow people in the vacant lots, schoolyards, parks.

Sue said...

what lovely memories, Deborah. I read about those things in books as a child in California and was always yearning for real winter and ice skates -- that's why I went to college in Ohio. That was fun too, because I didn't have to drive in it --just walk from dorm to dining hall to classroom on walks that someone else shoveled! I had my first snow ball fight at 18 during my freshman year. It was an unusually heavy first snow and the local newspaper sent out a photographer. So my first snow fort and snow ball fight were immortalized in black and white. Thanks for the lovely photos.

me ann my camera said...

A lovely post. Making your own ice rink, what fun! And that brings back many memories for me. While living in Toronto in the early 80's I made a rink on the front lawn of our rental. The neighborhood kids loved it as did my own. Then one night I saw two neighbor ladies from across the street out there, on skates!! What a joy, it reminded them of their home on Manitoulin Island and an immediate bond was established between us for we all knew the feeling of skating outdoors on a winter's night under the stars, but in this case under the city lights.

My big skating challenge as a kid was learning how to do the figure 8. You provoked wonderful memories.

Kathiesbirds said...

You remind me of when I was young and skating on the ponds around town or the puddles in the yard! I never mastered the backwards skating technique though. One winter in Maine my 2 youngest made a skating rink out of the frozen driveway ice. Winter does have its joys! Loved your story and your photos!

SandyCarlson said...

Today I watched some kids shoveling off some ice so they could play hockey. It was great to see kids actually exercising and being outdoors. I love winter. These pictures are great and bring to mind the blogs from Holland that I have been visiting.

hitch writer said...

brrrr...

wow skating must be fun... on ice. We only see that on tv !!! here its sunny again today !!! lol...

magiceye said...

nice to read about all the fun in snow! we dont have any :(

Greyscale Territory said...

Love your stories! I don't know much about snow experiences so its fascinating hearing these details! And lovely photos!

Dee said...

Great memories! My winter memories as a child involve being the first one ready to come home from sledding, freezing and crying and hating the cold.
No wonder I ended up in Arizona! I didn't even like the stuff as a kid.

Quiet Paths said...

That is an amazing span of ice. It looks beautiful. This post brought back memories of when I learned to skate on the irrigation ditch in a small cowboy town in southern MT. I would have been thrilled to skate on something like that. Still, all those sensations were the same which you described....down to the hot chocolate.

mom/caryn said...

Great post!

I remember begging my dad to drive us up to the mountains to spend a day playing in the snow. I grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles where we'd experienced a 1/2 inch skiff of snow every decade or so.

My father had moved as a young man from Utah to California and used to tell me that "Snow is only enjoyed by dogs, children and fools". He said when he turned 21 he packed a suitcase and his snow shovel and told me that when he finally had someone ask him what that tool was that he was carrying, he knew that was where he would happily spend the rest of his days.

My hubby and I built an ice rink in our backyard for the kids two years running. They, along with their friends, had a great time on it. We lived in North Ogden, Utah at the time and our city also tried to build an ice rink.... it was a short lived project lasting only one winter.

It's amazing to me to see how my grandsons and their little pals would spend hours inside the house playing on their computer games all summer long (if their parents would let them)... and as soon as snow lands on the lawn, they want to be outside throwing it at one another and sliding down hills and building secret hideaways. They seem to enjoy the great outdoors around their homes so much more during the winter. Now, if they can get up to the mountains directly behind the house to ride the fourwheelers, that's something they'll do all year long. Rocks, gravel, grass, dirt, mud, snow.... it's all good on the quads!

Guy D said...

Great shots, skating is definately a winter activity that is a favourite here in Regina as well.

Cheers!
Regina In Pictures

Indrani said...

Wonderful trip down the memory lane! I grew up near a beach and it was stretches of sand.

Rose said...

What wonderful memories...I never had the opportunity to try ice skating. Now I would probably break a hip or something!

Heart of a Cowgirl said...

Oh, that brings back memories... I grew up on Lake Huron and we had our own "pond" near the railroad tracks...when the train would come by you could hear the ice cracking and everyone would scrammble to get off! Also, the "Community Center" would freeze a parking lot for skating.