There was a December when I was in high school, probably 1978 or 1979 when I was in grade 9 or 10, that I remember well. I’m not sure if it was abnormally cold and snowy early that year, or whether I’m just so old that I was around back when winter actually came to Ontario before Christmas. Either way, my memory of that year is studying for high school Christmas exams prior to the Christmas holiday break. And on the last weekend before my exams ended, I can remember my dad flooding the rink in the backyard. I couldn’t wait to be done and to get out on to that rink.
In his customary MacGyver-like style, he had rigged up a way to spray water from an unattended hose at just the right water-mist consistency that it landed and froze into ice without burning a whole in the snow. He had used an old chair (probably one he had purchased at an auction sale as he was fond of doing and one that was likely about 3rd last in the queue to be fixed up) and wound the hose through the rungs so that it held itself in place. He would go outside every twenty minutes or so and move the chair so that it sprayed a different part of the rink. The outcome was always a thing of beauty and I have a several photos of it in my flikr stream found on the home page of this blog.
Anyway, in that particular December, my last exam was a morning exam because I can remember coming right home afterwards. It was a bright clear December day. I always put my skates on in the kitchen (sitting on another old, rescued and restored chair near the back door) and would then crawl carefully down the stairs outside the back door. This day was no different.
Exams done. Two weeks off. Freedom on ice.