Herald-Journal
Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Dec. 27, 1999

A whip, a crack, and a dip in the lake

By OPAL "GRANDMA" HABISCH

Well, boys and girls, did you get the toys you wanted from Santa? I hope so. I heard that Santa was very tired when he got back to the North Pole.

I also heard that Santa ran short on some big toys, as there were so many children on his list that he couldn't get everything in his sleigh. So you might have received a different toy than you asked for, but next year, you can write him a letter and ask for it again.

Did you get skates for Christmas? Skating is a fun sport, but you must be sure the ice is thick enough to skate on. Ask your parents, or even your bigger brother or sister, to check the ice for you. They will know if the ice is safe enough.

Once, when I was a little girl, I went skating on a small lake at my grandpa's farm. There was a whole bunch of kids skating and we all held hands and skated real fast; we called it a "whip." All at once, I let go of the other person's hand and boy, did I fly, right out to the middle of the lake.

Then, I heard the ice crack and down I went. The water wasn't very deep, but it was very cold.

In those days, we didn't have skates that were on a boot. Our skates screwed on tight to our shoes. When I fell in, my shoes came off and I lost my skates.

The rest of the boys and girls came to help me out. One boy didn't see the big crack in the ice and he fell into the water, too.

One of the girls ran to my grandpa's house and my uncles came running out with a wood ladder. They put it on top of the ice and pushed it to me and the boy in the water.

I hung on to the ladder and the others pulled me out. Then they pulled out the boy, too.

We were soaking wet. Our stockings froze right on to our feet. My uncles wrapped us up in blankets, put us on a sled, and brought us up to the house, where Grandma took off our wet clothes and dried us off. She rubbed our feet real hard to warm them up.

I felt bad about losing my shoes and skates. Later in the winter, when the ice was thicker, my uncle cut a hole where we had gone in, and fished my shoes out. In those days, you only owned one pair of shoes, unless you were rich. That was 70 years ago.

So, don't go skating unless you know the ice is thick, even in the middle, especially if you want to play "whip."


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