Friday, December 19, 2008
Breaking the Ice
This is a picture of our creek at a recent sunrise. There was a point in time when this creek would freeze so hard that you could walk across it, which is what this next story's about.
Once upon a time, back in the days when it used to snow, the Chesapeake Bay would freeze over and so would our creek.
No, silly, not The End, this is Chesapeake Bay Woman's opportunity to take a paragraph of a story and stretch it like salt-water taffy into a mind-numbing experience that you can't wait to escape from. From which you can't wait to escape. From.
Anyway, our creek used to freeze over so thick we could sometimes walk across it, and as kids we'd do just that. Left unattended while our mothers were watching Secret Storm and the Edge of Darkness, the neighborhood kids would get together and spend hours slipping and sliding on that ice.
Nobody had skates, they weren't necessary. Chesapeake Bay Woman really wished she were on an ice hockey team, though, and OH how she wished she had some ice skates because she wanted to fly instead of slip clumsily along in her mother's over sized work boots with her feet wrapped in bread bags for extra protection. (Anyone else do that? No? Never mind then, we didn't either. Let's move on.)
One day Middle Sister, Neighbor Friend, Neighbor's Sister and I (ages 10-13) were skating/sliding around the edge of the shoreline having a grand old time. We went way down the end of Miller's Cove, where Neighbor's Sister decided to venture to the end of a nearby dock.
Because this freeze wasn't entirely "walk across the creek" thick, Neighbor Friend and I watched Neighbor's Sister with some trepidation as she ventured further and further down the length of the dock. (Naturally we were in charge of the two youngsters, since our mothers were busy watching Search for Tomorrow as their children pranced across paper-thin ice barely covering a creek that can reach depths of 8 feet in some places. But this is neither here nor there...)
Of course you know what happened next. We heard the inevitable crack. Every one of us froze in our tracks and watched in horror as, in super slow-motion, the ice gave way and Neighbor's Little Sister's feet started disappearing. With the reflexes of a cat and the clutches of a koala bear with a side order of Velcro and Crazy Glue tossed in for good measure, she wrapped her entire body around the nearest dock pole, just as her feet started going under. She was clinging to the dock pole for dear life.
The rest of us clambered to shore and up the dock. Somehow or another we hoisted her up and out of the icy water. Our mothers never knew what happened.
Until last Friday night.
At the Neighborhood Christmas party, Neighbor's Little Sister made a surprise guest appearance. One of the very first things we talked about was the time she fell through the ice. It is permanently etched in our brains.
Our mothers, both in attendance, perked up and said, "What's this? Who fell through the ice? When did this happen? How come we didn't know?"
Neighbor and I just shook our heads. The answer lies somewhere in between Secret Storm, the Edge of Darkness, and the code of silence that exists among kids who have almost killed themselves.
We just laughed nervously and changed the subject. Much like we did the day the ice broke.