First skate of the year!
Living in southern NJ used to mean cold winters and frozen ponds every year. Susan and I often tell stories to each other about staying out so long that our hands were too cold to un-tie skates. I know as a kid I rode my bike home a couple of times from the “horse-shoe pond” with skates on. Those days are gone and we find ourselves now hoping every winter that we get a cold snap to freeze up the local “fireman’s pond”. This pond is perfect for pond hockey, it’s only about 3-4 feet deep, around 300m long x 80m wide and is sort of sheltered from the wind. The city put up lights years ago that let the good times last into the evening.
Today we had the opportunity to skate once again. I got home from work early and quickly got dressed and dug out the skates, gloves and a stick. Susan was lucky enough to get a skate in during the day to “test” the ice she says, I can’t blame her for not waiting for me to get home.
Susan has had another challenge recently and to have her feel good enough to get on the ice really made me happy. Skating is in her blood, it’s apart of her. I knew that when I put the skates on for the first time in many years that things would fall right in place. See, we both played ice hockey for years and in many leagues with all kinds of players. I had to stop playing because of an injury, Susan had to stop because of cancer.
It was another sport or activity that was taken from her because of this disease but like most things, it didn’t slow her down or make her give up.
That brings us today…a new frozen pond and an opportunity for Susan to get back to her roots. As I found myself standing across the pond from her passing the puck back and forth it felt like nothing had changed, it felt “normal” for a moment. We weren’t thinking about the 15yrs of dealing with the late-stage cancer and the many challenges she’s faced or her two hip replacements or the hair that’s just fallen out from radiation. It was just us on the first frozen pond skate of the year.