Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Monday, December 5, 2016

skating in the wallow

 When I was young there was a small pond on the edge of Northwest woods where we would go ice skating. No more than a mile from our backdoor my brothers and sister would walk down there. It was nestled in a slight hollow of land. The water wasn't very deep at all, probably not even a foot in the center. Quite often tree branches would be frozen into that ice and you had to step over them when skating. I'm not certain but a small spring must have fed it. It always had some water in it, even during the hottest days of summer. Years later I learned that David Gardnier, a man of some local prominence, watered his herd of buffalo there, in reality it was a buffalo wallow. At least that is what the history books tell me. Seems strange to read about familiar places in a history book. Especially so when you grew up in that place and didn't have a clue about it. But I'm getting off the subject here. So. my siblings and I would go skating there on our own private little pond. This is when I was quite small probably no more than six or seven. I remember one incident where my feet got so cold I couldn't walk ! My oldest brother Harold, who will be gone two years on the 19th of this month, carried me home. Oh he was complaining and angry alright, but he carried me all the way.
 As the years passed and we all grew up we didn't go to that little pond as often. We would go to two holes of water sometimes or town pond. Two holes I don't remember much about. I guess we only went there a few times. We would have had to get a ride. Town pond was the best though. We needed a ride to get there too as it was three miles from home. Very close to St. Lukes church that we attended we walked or rode bicycles but not when it was freezing outside. Contrary to what I might tell the grandkids I didn't really walk three miles to go skating and walk home again. Well, I might have done it just once, to impress a certain someone. I don't think it worked. On town pond there was skating on one end and hockey playing on the other. I am not a very good skater and never played hockey. I would go to town pond and just stand around on those skates a lot, at least giving the illusion. Mostly I just wanted to skate around easy like, and maybe hold the girls hand. Ah, to be that young again. Good times.
 Now I do remember going to that little pond in the hollow alone. I was bored and there was no one else around to go skating with. This was long before you could just call someone up or send them an instant message. You didn't just pick up the phone and call somebody ! The phone wasn't for entertainment you know. Geez, you had to ask permission to use that thing, at least I did. Then, most likely, I would hear, don't be bothering people, find something to do. Anyway, off I went. I get down to the pond and put on those skates. I hang my shoes on a tree branch. They stay warmer if you don't put them in the snow. I'm just skating around a bit when I hear this dog. And this dog is close, right on the edge of the ice. He is growling and showing his teeth. He doesn't move to come out on the ice but he is not going to let me leave either. I skate to the other side and he comes around that way. That dog is circling me like Indians around a wagon train ! So, I have no choice but to holler ! The air is crisp and cold and not much traffic goes by this spot and that sound carries. Now, a good friend of my dad lives just up the road a might from where I am. His name was Meredith Graves, but we called him Uncle Gravy. It was Uncle Gravy that heard my shouts and came down there. He grabbed a big stick and drove that mean dog away. I thanked him, grabbed my shoes and hightailed it home. I think that was the last time I ever skated that pond. Not because I was afraid but too old. Besides skating alone wasn't much fun. I heard some time later that same dog was tied up in the yard. The owner had received complaints about him. Well that dog decided to jump the fence, most likely going after someone, and hung himself. I felt bad that the dog had died like that but considered it justice in a way. Fate has a way of taking care of such things. I know with todays' sensibilities the outlook is quite a bit different. But, that is what happened. And that is the end of the story, all of it true.