Time Capsule Tale

[While searching desperately for holiday bows in the basement, I found an old email about skating wedged into a box on my “wrapping center,” which started out as an empty table with plenty of room for wrapping but now contains the following: 9,462 pieces of kiddie artwork; assorted holiday decorations that we never put back in their proper storage places; and an old wooden Thomas train collection that we’re afraid to touch because of the lead paint recalls, even though none of specific models was recalled. Anyway, here goes, something related to our theme of “ice.”]

Nothing says happy holidays like the thud of small children smashing into the walls of a hockey rink amidst wreaths and twinkling lights. Or so it seemed, on our recent skating adventure, during which no one appeared to mind the occasional fall or bump, due to the festive mood.

Husband dazzled everyone with his fancy moves. He has not lost one bit of skating savvy since his high school hockey golden days. I, on the other hand, had to concentrate strenuously just in order to remain upright and forward-moving. Which is weird because when my sister and I were little, we could skate backwards, do twirls, and so on. I even briefly entertained the idea of going pro (okay, that’s a lie but I did go through an I-heart-Ice Castles phase: took lessons, learned how to do figure eights and tiny jumps, and–most importantly–had fluffy pink pompoms on my skates). However, quite inexplicably, it was like I had never skated before. Ever. Well maybe a little explicably…after all, I am (cough cough) years older.  Or perhaps it was the loaner skates that made me as wobbly as a newborn colt.  In any case, after much flailing, I eventually managed to produce a respectable glide.

During the Zamboni’s re-icing event, we headed over to the snack bar for some refreshing hot cocoa, as we were chilled to the bone. There were four teens “working”; I use that term loosely, as two were having a broom fight, one was staring into space, and the other one was handling orders, which mostly consisted of telling people that although there were signs all over the place for popcorn and pizza, they did not have any popcorn or pizza. We ordered hot cocoa, which cost $425 dollars for a cup the size of a thumb. The water? No warmer than a recently melted icicle. The chocolate? Powder congealed in a sad lump at the bottom of the cuplet. It was neither “hot” nor “cocoa.” That snack bar is at risk of being sued for false advertising, what with the popcorn/pizza snafu and the “hot cocoa” deception. Not that we would sue them. But someone might.

We skated a bit more, long enough to realize that it’s a good thing they play music to signal Happy Fun Time, or else we might notice that we were all just going around and around in circles. Which is kind of what it feels like to work on the same writing project for an extended period of time. And a sense of flailing about on a slippery surface can happen at any point in said project, too. Come to think of it, skating may be a perfect metaphor for writing. So: Happy Fun Time Wishes to You.

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13 thoughts on “Time Capsule Tale”

  1. Heh, that is too funny, Cynthia. 🙂 I used to skate on the rink my township created in the football field/track across the street from my elementary school. My daughter went to an ice-skating birthday party a few years ago – she was pretty good, but cold. I would not attempt to lace up skates now. And I laughed out loud at the “false advertising” claim.

    How nice that you keep these “frozen” memories. I’m horrible at writing stuff like this down.

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  2. Love this! Yes, it’s good to trick the mind into believing in Happy Fun Time, especially when it’s time to (re)read the same manuscript for the 6,729th time and try to catch whatever was missed the first 6,728 readings.

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  3. First, let me admire the writing. So many beautiful phrases. I skated in my childhood, but soon turned to horse back riding where I feed the horses every night and let my horse be used for lessons in exchange for board. I love the analogy, too. My current WIP is quite slippery in the first draft and refuses to just be done in a heated rush.

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  4. Thanks for the comments, all!

    Mary, did your township’s rink have the obligatory tree branches embedded into the ice? We used to go to the town rink too, and you not only had to maneuver around normal ice holes and chips but also, like, nature.

    Diane, exactly. Sometimes it’s impossible to believe that there can be anything left to find…and then there it is, right on the page. Sigh.

    Theresa, I appreciate the kind words. And horses, squee! Did you by any chance read the Misty of Chincoteague books?

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  5. Sue, love that comment. (We used to make these things at camp involving the wrapping of yarn around two cardboard donuts that somehow ended up looking like a fluffy toy, and we called them “warm fuzzies.” #flashback)

    Mary, so true about different perspective indeed between kids and adults.

    Kait, you are so funny!

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  6. I used to love ice skating more than roller skating when I was a teenager, although we did it on a farm pond and not in a rink, and usually after dark by the light of the moon and stars. I have a pond now, but no skates and probably lost all of what little skill I did have. Compared to writing? I think I’m a better writer than I was a skater.

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  7. Oh, the flashbacks. Going with my grandmother to buy new skates. Being big enough to get rid of the “double-runner” blades. And the pom-poms! I’d forgotten about those, but loved making them with my mother. Outdoor skating. Can you imagine, my school set up a skating rink on the play ground every year, with the fire dept keeping it (sort of) flat? The town attorneys would scream “LIABILITY” now-a-days. We skated at recess! Oh, and all the winter birthday kids had skating parties at the local hockey arena. Munchkin’s school still does an annual skating party. 🙂 Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Cynthia! (And, BTW, every flat surface in my house sounds like your wrapping table. . .)

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  8. Thanks so much, Gloria and Pamela, for the descriptions of your own skating memories! I’d forgotten about skating on ponds and lakes too–and oh yeah, nowadays everyone would probably have to sign waivers first. 🙂

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  9. When my sisters and I were young, the city would ice over the local asphalt tennis courts. They ice was never smooth but somehow that is how I learned to skate. So yes, a perfect metaphor for the writing process; a craggy, lumpy surface, freezing cold upstate NY temps, hand-me-down skates that don’t fit. But at some point . . . the perfect glide that lasts longer than you thought possible 🙂

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