Jilly D.

Skating on memories

In Anniversary and memorials, Holidays, Pictures and memories, Time and seasons on January 5, 2011 at 2:15 am

Safer to stay home by the fire

I made the same mistake 10 years ago. Ice skating sounds so healthy and robust. I’m 10 years older and seem to have forgotten how hard the ice is when you fall down. I think it’s harder than I remembered.

In a spirit of celebrating the snow and cold weather I invited my new neighbors who moved here from Florida to partake in a seasonal skate Sunday afternoon at Cass Park in Ithaca. Surrounding myself with novice ice skaters seemed a good way to cushion my ego when I got back on the ice. I should have considered my tusch’s cushion instead.

My second time around the arena I glided along. Bump. I went down hard. Stunned for a minute, I looked around. A friend skated over and extended his hand. Back on my feet, my ego hurt less than my left knee. I stood there a few minutes before slowly skating around until I felt more confident. Being as gentle as possible on my aching leg, I put in an hour on the ice. As soon as I sat down I could feel the swelling. I got home and I put in another hour with my knee on ice.

Now my left knee is bum and I’ve pulled a muscle that runs from my ankle well into my lower back. It’s been 48 hours and the swelling is down, but the best I can do is hobble around. Trying to keep my feet elevated and stop whining. I can’t stand to listen to myself complain.

There’s something nice about the smell of Ben-Gay. Feels like a remedy. The scent triggers soothing memories. Okay, now I’m really old. And a whiner.

I should have followed my “get more exercise” resolution for the New Year by purchasing that health club membership and relaxing in the steam room and sauna this January. Swimming as though it were summer is now my midwinter dream. There is still time to get revenge on winter; so wake me up when it’s over.

My dreams of ice skating take me back to Camden Park in north Minneapolis where my sister and I walked to the warming house. Inside it was warm and you could sit down to change into your skates and store your boots. Sometimes they even had hot cocoa. I used snow banks as brakes before I mastered the toe stop. Sonja Henje set a high bar in the Swenson household for skating aspirations. I learned to twirl and go backwards and spent my Elementary School years enjoying Minnesota winter outdoors.

Toboganning was a family adventure and we went sledding on our playground everyday. Julie McChesney, Wendy Ginther, Cookie Grabowski and I loved making snow forts and tunnels through neighborhood backyards.

Fourteen years ago I became that kind of fun girl again when I fell head over heels in love with Sam Warren. Those precious days between New Year’s and Epiphany I walked for the first time on the farmland surrounding Warren Pond. January 6 is our anniversary and I remember the days leading up to the start of this once-in-a-lifetime love affair. My vision is all winter white snow. I’d walk down the lane with the trees forming a perfect canopy over my head until his cabin popped into view. I smelled wood smoke.

Sam would sit inside by the fire and keep it going while I walked the dogs and made snowmen across the pond who would wave to us. I’d fall flat on my back and make a snow angel. As the snow piled higher, I wrote love notes with my fingertip along the banks of the driveway. Sledding and cross-country skiing and hiking in the woods, I loved winter. And I loved spending time in that comfy cozy cabin with Sam.

The last time I went ice skating I wore the Carhart overalls Sam had given me for Christmas; warm with padding. I came home to Sam after experiencing several good falls on the ice.

“You’re too old to be doing that schoolgirl stuff,” he said. “Of course, it’s going to hurt. Don’t favor that knee when you walk. You sit there too long and that knee is going to freeze up. Keep going. You’ll be all right. I told you, but you don’t listen.”


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