Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ice Rink Hi-jinks!

My sister, Kaye, is nothing if not charitable. She is also very creative and crafty. If there is a useful item that can be crafted by hand, Kaye will attempt to reproduce it. So it was that seven-year-old Gary came upon his Clown Pants. They weren’t really clown pants they only appeared to be such. Bright colors and parachute fabric were not to become popular apparel materials for many years to come. Gary’s pants were definitely before their time.

The bitter winters in Eastern Idaho call for added protection from wind and weather, especially for recent Floridian transplants. Kaye, the Do-it-yourself-er, fashioned a pair of baby blue “warm-ups” to keep her offspring dry and comfortable as he trudged to and from school. Unfortunately, the bounteous yards of fabric she used gave one the impression Gary was wearing a pair of Princess Jasmine’s harem pants! He dutifully donned the voluminous pants and marched to and from school enduring the bitter teasing of his school mates – and his aunts!

Hoping to ease his transition from tropical Florida to near Arctic conditions, Gary’s aunts determined to teach him to embrace the cold. We took him ice-skating!

In addition to his clown pants, Gary wore several layers on his upper half and a fuzzy stocking cap. He was forced to wear a nice white pair of girls’ ice skates. When he took to the ice, it was as if a cartoon character had come to life. Rather than wait for instructions, Gary attacked the rink with gusto! He began at one end of the rink using the toe pick – the jagged teeth at the front of a figure skate blade – for traction. Running the length of the rink, his legs whirring like fan blades, the sharp length of the skate blade never making contact with the ice, Gary stopped with only a few yards left before running out of rink. He appeared suspended in air as his legs whirred past one another. Then Gary would suddenly flatten his feet. They promptly slid in front of him as his softer more cushioned parts dropped onto the ice. Most victims of skating falls take a moment to evaluate well being and examine for broken body parts. Not Gary! He bolted upright facing the direction from which he had just arrived, and repeated the activity – step by step – whir by whir – crash by crash!

His enthusiasm was enviable. We had not, however, the energy to join him as we were spent from chuckling.

At length, his doting mother could no longer contain her curiosity, or maybe it was her concern for his welfare, and she joined us. Few can emit a full bodied laugh as does my sister. Our entertainment was now twofold – Gary, whirring and splatting while his mother shook with glee.

We tried to teach. Our attempts to slow Gary’s efforts in hopes that he might gain some control over his movements were futile. He repeatedly attacked the ice with gusto. The silly looking pants added to the visual effect. He truly appeared as a cartoon character and his enthusiasm never waned.

How often do we quell a person’s zeal in an attempt to improve his skills? Would it be better to let them be that they might live in the moment? I don’t know the answers, but I do know that I will never lose the image in my mind of Gary on Ice!


  1. Oh yes, "Gary on Ice", forever in my mind also. You did a great job of painting the picture for those who weren't fortunate enough to witness the event.

  2. Thanks! It still makes me crack up when I think about it.

  3. I'm not sure if I was there, or if I know the principals so well that I think I was because of your discription. I think it should be a Christmas present for Kaye & Gary.