We could hardly wait in early winter for the pond in the Marshall cow pasture to freeze over and the ice to get thick enough for us to skate on. We didn’t have ice skates, but waxed our shoe soles with beeswax or candle wax. When we stepped out on the ice—it had the effect of greased lightning.
I think we spent more time on our fannies that on our feet.
We always put on all the coats, etc., we could find, as padding when we fell—and we could get some very painful falls. We wrapped heavy towels around our heads, putting on our stocking cops over them—one could get a skull fracture when one’s feet flew up from under them and the back of their head struck the ice. I never did understand how a fall on the ice hurt more and could do more damage than a fall on concrete, but it did.
Our favorite game on ice was playing “crack-the-whip.” Mae and Gae Marshall would join us, for it took several to form the “whip” Ralph, being the largest and strongest, usually “headed” it, the rest of us holding hands.
The idea was to try to dislodge the one on the “tail” of the whip—as they tried to hold on.
One day it was my turn to be the tail-end of the “whip” and I lost my hold on Mae’s hand and flew through the air, landing like a ton of brick—on my face—my nose really ploughed up the ice! I had a well skinned nose and a bad bruise on my forehead in the area of my eye brows. Ralph said only I could manage to hit the ice with the only unprotected part of my head. I elected to sit on the side of the pond for the rest of that skating session.
When we got home, Dad asked me if I would like to explain how that tree happened to run into me?
The next morning Ralph and Harry took one look at me and started howling with laughter. I went and looked in the mirror and discovered I had two very black eyes, my forehead was a variety of shades of blue, and my nose was swollen. Dad’s comment was: “Well! If you don’t look a sight!” But what was worrying me was what Grandma Burns was going to say when I appeared in church Sunday “looking like a tree ran into me.”
Luckily the weather was so bad we couldn’t walk the mile and a half to church that Sunday. When she did see me, I didn’t look such a mess, and told he I fell—which was part, though not the whole truth.