Farm Life: Learning How to Ice Skate

Living on a farm means learning a lot of things in different ways than most people would. We had ditches that surrounded our house on two sides. "A ditch is usually defined as a small to moderate depression created to channel water."* These ditches were not small ditches. They were narrow but at least six feet deep. In the wet season the ditches usually had at least two feet of water in them.

One winter day daddy went out to the ditch next to our house and cut through the snow to see if there was any fully frozen ice that was smooth underneath. To his delight the ice was perfect. Daddy came into the house and announced that it was time to learn how to ice skate. He put us all in the car and took us down to the local store and bought us ice skates.

I was the oldest one of three girls. My sister who is a year younger than me and I came home with "grown-up ice skates." They were white and laced up. The most impressive part of those skates were that they had a single blade. My younger sister got a set of skates that had a double blade. I found very quickly that the single blade may have been a more grown-up option but the double blade made learning to skate a lot easier.

When we returned home, daddy helped us each into the ditch and then followed after us. That deep ditch sheltered us from the blowing winter wind. The walls of the ditch were narrow and close enough that we could not fall down very easily. Whenever we would lose our balance, we would have to just put out our arms and touch the walls of the ditch to steady ourselves. At first the skates slipped all over the place but before long we got the hang of the whole thing and we were skating up and down that ditch with ease. It was from that moment on that we loved to ice skate. Most people learn to skate at a rink but we had a method that was perfect for us, a deep narrow ditch.

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