Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, March 22, 1999

Racing to a safe finish on the ice


Jim and Jan waited and waited for the ice to freeze so they could go skating. Finally, their dad told them that the ice at the skating rink was ready.

So they got out their skates and got ready to go. Jan tried to pull on her skates, but they were too small.

Her mother told her she could wear Jim's old pair, but Jan said, "Those are boy's skates. They are black."

"Well," her mother said, "We can go to town and get you a new pair of skates, and they will be your birthday present."

"But, Mother," Jan said, "My birthday isn't until June."

"Well," Mother said, "Would you rather wait until June to get your new skates? There won't be any ice to skate on then."

Jan thought about it for a moment. Then she said, "Let's go and buy them now."

So they went shopping and Jan got new white skates and a new jacket, too.

On Saturday, Jim and Jan decided to go skating with their mother and dad. Although their mother doesn't know how to skate, their father is a very good skater.

When they got to the ice rink, Jim said, "I bet I can beat you. I can skate fast."

"Okay," Dad said, "Let's race."

The skating rink was all fenced in and was located on the edge of a big lake. Mother helped Jim, Jan, and Dad get lined up and ready to race. When everyone was ready, Mother said, "Go."

And, boy, did they go. Dad was fast, but Jim was sure that he could beat him. He put all he had into it and then, he passed his dad.

But as he did, he realized that he had reached the edge of the rink and he couldn't stop in time to avoid hitting the fence. In fact, he skated right through the fence and onto the lake.

Dad yelled, "Stop. Come back. The ice on the lake isn't safe."

And he was right. All at once, Jim broke through the ice and went down into the freezing cold water. He sank down in the water, then he bounced up to the surface again. He was very scared.

Dad yelled, "Hold on to the ice if you can. I will lie down and try to reach you."

Mother went for help as Dad quickly took off his heavy skates and carefully crawled out onto the thin ice.

"Dad, I'm so cold," Jim cried.

"I know," Dad said stretching as far as he could, "Grab a hold of my hand."

When Jim had his dad's hand in his, he immediately felt much better.

"But, Dad," Jim cried, "I'm so very, very cold."

"Just hold on, Jim," Dad said, "Give me your other hand." As Jim reached for his dad, the ice broke again and his dad also fell into the lake.

Just then, the fire department pulled up and the firemen came running to the lake with their ladders. They yelled for the skaters to grab hold of the ladder as they pushed it out on the ice. Carefully, they pulled Jim and his dad to safety.

Jim and his dad were rushed to the hospital, where they were relieved to find that, outside of a little frostbite on their hands and feet, they would be okay. They knew that the outcome certainly could have been much worse.

This experience taught Jim and Jan that fences around skating rinks are there for a reason and you must stay off thin ice. They still like to skate, but they know they must be very careful to skate only where it is safe.

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