Hardheaded Icy Thoughts

I was two the first time I took to the ice. All these years later, I can still visualize the day. My Dad took me to a place called Meadowbrook. It was a frozen pond. He strapped my double runner ice skates over my boots. I took one look around me and started to wail. All the other kids wore single runner skates, or at least double runners that looked like single runners. Mine were the big blocky kind with the blades separated by the width of the platform that held them. Kind of like roller skates with the rollers replaced with a single blade. I wanted no part of them.

I didn’t know there was a hierarchy of ice skates based on age and experience. First, you got the blocky double runners, then the close together double runners, until finally, you graduated to the glorious single runners. Black leather boots for hockey, white for figure skates. I’m sure my blocky things were stable, and, thinking back, I was the youngest kid at the pond. But to me, that wasn’t the point. I wanted single runner skates. I would not get on the pond. He took me by the hand and tried to lead me to the pond, picked me up and carried me to the ice, pleaded, cajoled, and bought me hot chocolate. No matter what he tried, I would not budge.

Completely embarrassed and at a loss for what else to do, my father took me to a hobby shop and bought me child sized, white leather booted, single runner, figure skates. He told me years later that he expected to bring me home to my mother with, at the least, a broken arm. Somehow, he said, facing my mother’s wrath was easier in his mind than facing my outrage.

We got to the pond, he took off my snow boots and put on my glorious, wonderful, single runner figure skates and led me to the ice. I carefully walked alongside on my points the way the salesman said. There I was, a tiny child tiptoeing on skates, my hand firmly held by my six foot four Dad. He picked me up when we got to the edge of the pond and he carried me to the smoother ice of the middle where he carefully set me on my feet. I remember wobbling when he set me down. Trying to find balance. He let go of one hand, and turned from facing me to next to me. My left hand held firmly in his grip. He took a step. I glided mine just like the children all around me. He took another step. I glided again, my blades straight on the ice. Together, we circled the ice hand in hand. At some point, he let go of my hand and I cruised over the ice like a professional. I don’t remember falling. I’m sure I did, although my Dad claims I didn’t. That was my first trip to the ice.

A few years later, I got my first two-wheeler bike. We had a similar discussion over training wheels. I won, and after an initial circuit of the playground with my father running alongside supporting the bike, I soloed and never looked back.

The well-remembered incident with the ice skates defined my character in some ways. Whenever I face an obstacle. One I can’t see a way around. I remember the two year old who wanted, and got, and successfully used, single runner skates. Like the well-loved book of my childhood, if I think I can, I can. It doesn’t matter if I succeed. What matters is that I reach deep inside below the fear and pull up the courage to try.

What childhood incidents do you remember that set your character in ice?

Author: kaitcarson

I write mysteries set in South Florida. The Hayden Kent series is set in the Florida Keys. Hayden is a SCUBA diving paralegal who keeps finding bodies. Underwater, no one can hear you scream! Catherine Swope is a Miami Realtor with a penchant for finding bodies in the darndest places. I live in an airpark in Fort Denaud, FL with my husband, five cats, and a flock of conures. And oh yes, a Piper Cherokee 6 in the hangar!

10 thoughts on “Hardheaded Icy Thoughts”

  1. Too funny about the skates. I remember the double-runners, but I didn’t get them – by the time I tried to ice skate I was too big. Most of my childhood memories revolve around wanting to be “In” and the other kids keeping me firmly “out” – so I decided I’d make my own “in,” even if I was the only member!


  2. Children certainly want to conform, to be like all the other kids. This made me think of roller skates. I loved the keys. My father did the same with me, I liked the training wheels, but when we took them off, he ran behind me, helping me balance. Then one time he yelled, look behind you. That time he hadn’t run behind me at all. I’d done it all by myself.


  3. Love it! I think my daughter has a looooot of this in her, so it’s good to know I’m not wrong when I chant to myself, “This will serve her well in life,” even as I’m frustrated with the stubbornness. It does, and it will. Great story, Kait! (I hated my double-runners, too.)


  4. Great story! I’m the youngest in my family, and so I got whatever was handed down. One year my older brother (who had the only pair of ice skates) decided to play ice hockey on our frozen pond, and he needed a goalie–that would be me, standing out there on the ice in my tennis shoes trying not to get battered by Mom’s copper dish (his puck).


  5. Hi all, sorry to be so late responding – just got back from Miami. A place that knows no ice. Mary, I think you have a story there. My brother was nine years older and all the kids in my neighborhood were closer to his age than mine and – all male. I know exactly what you mean! Teresa, wasn’t that a great feeling! Yes, I definitely wanted to conform, but I was even more afraid of being thought a baby! Which at two…Thanks Pamela. A friend of mine has a granddaughter with a lot of that in her too. She’s the greatest kid because she’s so determined and so much her own child. Her grandmother encourages it. Her parents, well, they are wishing they had an easier child. Thanks Cynthia! Sue, Love the story. Can relate. My mother used to lose lots of stuff to my brother and me. I heard about it for years!


  6. Ah, Diane, you missed the joys of an older brother trying to kill you by making you the tail of the whip! Amazing how fast you can go in those circumstances! I am completely uncoordinated on the ice as an adult. It takes a lot of windmill arms to get back my stride, and these days I have only one speed, forward!


  7. Two and three are the ideal ages to learn skating and skiing, I think. Those little tots zip around right away. I can picture you out there balking!

    I don’t remember my first skates, but I skated a lot as a child. (I remember my first clamp-on roller skates.) I do remember frostbiting my toes walking home wearing my skates with the rubber guards on because I thought it was too cold to expose my bare feet and put my boots on. I loved skating. I even took two courses of it in college, but managed to knock myself out practicing a jump. Having lived in Texas for so long, though, it’s been many years since I skated.


  8. Fun memories Kaye. I wish I had learned to ski at two as well. Having been on the bunny slope as a full grown adult (the slope with NO color – not even green) I was humbled by a number of two year olds, so I think your assessment is quite right. I remember the clamp on roller skates too. Complete with key. Liked them much better than the inline roller blades with the plastic boots.


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