Mom and Dad – when they broke away from their responsibilities – sure knew how to give us a good time.
Our house stood on an extra large lot, giving Dad all kinds of excuses to create play areas for us. For three winters, Dad would build a rectangular frame, line it with heavy plastic, tamp the plastic to the inside of the frame, then nail it up and over the outside of the frame. The final touch was the many hours, over several nights, he spent spraying layer after layer of water, patiently waiting for each to freeze into a smooth surface before adding the next, until we had our very own ice skating rink.
All six of us had a pair of ice skates; none were new, but they fit well and had decent blades. Each night Mom fixed a hearty stew or hot soup, and we’d have trouble containing our enthusiasm long enough to eat and get the dishes washed. We’d bundle up, turn on the back porch light and be out on the ice until it was time to tumble into bed. Dad created a couple of makeshift hockey sticks, and we participated in hotly contested races, daring stunt maneuvers, and possibly even a little ice dancing.
What I know is my cheeks were frozen, my lips were chapped and I was having fun.