Alice's Attic: Ice-skating was social hour
February 25. 2014 12:29PM
Last week there was a story in the Argus Leader about a family that has an ice-skating rink in their back yard. They are very lucky people.
When we were young the only "rink" that we had was the Big Sioux River with a bridge overhead near Egan Park. So, when we stepped out our back door, most of our gang had to walk a long ways to get there.
Dave lived about a mile away on the outskirts, and I lived on a farm one-half mile north of town.
We often went skating in the evenings. I would tiptoe in the dark, way over on the other side of the road, to sneak by the "danger" area, where the three Jackson dogs were lying incognito, always on the alert. I would run like crazy until I hit the town lights, then, on down to the river, nearly another half mile to go.
We would gather wood from the riverbanks and pile it under the bridge so we could have a nice fire. We needed a fire because no matter how many pairs of socks we wore, our feet felt frozen.
We all thought we were pretty good skaters, and using our imagination, we would try to cut a figure eight, and do other fancy maneuvers.
Dave's famous trick was to skate towards me, holding out his hand. But at the last second, he would skate right pass me. Everyone thought that was funny except me!
The good teen years flew by, and a few years later, Dave and I were married. When our children were old enough, we bought ice skates for them so they could also have good memories from skating on the river here in Dell Rapids. It was easier for them living only a few blocks away.
All the kids would gather in the warming house, still there, but unused for many years.
Herman Kroger was a kind, old gentleman who was always there to keep the fire going in the wood stove, and help the children with their skates. Without him, the warm-up house soon deteriorated.
The snowmobiles took over the river long ago.