The weather may be very different when you get around to reading this story, but as I write it is hot and humid here, north of Toronto. As weather reporters say in this area, “With humidity it feels like 40C,” which translates to about 104F.
This morning we joined my parents and a couple of my sisters for our monthly family breakfast. Mom pulled out her iPad and showed me a picture she’d taken of a photograph that had somehow unearthed itself, and it was pure gold. You see, back in the good old days, when I was about twelve years old, we had the perfect combination of weather, resulting in a few magical days for us kids. Without photo evidence it might be hard for some to believe.
As you can see in this picture the fields are fully snow-covered, as they usually were back then. There had been a thaw for a couple of days before this photo was taken but that didn’t affect the snow except to make it settle, firm and compact. The unusual warmth was followed by a flash freeze, hardening the snow cover, and the weather trifecta was complete when freezing rain followed.
The freezing rain happened to fall on the day our small country school planned to hold the annual skating party at Cedarena. Although we anxiously waited for the school bus to pick us up, it never arrived. Not knowing that, our brave teacher, Miss Anderson, started out from her home and headed to school. About halfway there, her little red VW bug slid off the road. Undaunted, she grabbed her skates, skated around to her students’ homes to invite everyone out, and we had a skating party on the ice-covered roads.
When the freezing rain stopped and the sanding trucks came around, making our road-rink unusable, we discovered some more magic. The icy layer of rain that had fallen on the roads also covered the firmly packed, snowy fields and they were frozen solid as ice. Our hundred acre farm was a huge skating rink. As I recall, and my mother confirms this, we were able to come home from school for the next week or so, lace on our skates, and glide over the fields until dark.
I’ve often wished this magical time could be repeated. The weather has occasionally come close, and when conditions start to mimic the ones I’ve described above I cross my fingers, hoping. Sadly, it’s never been quite like it was all those years ago, when we had our school skating party on the roads north of the Toronto zoo (which didn’t exist then) all those years ago.