Here's the true meaning of "Skating on Thin Ice ..."

... among the tall stories on Ell Pond ...

from Jack Driscoll

On the Tremont Street side of Ell Pond the city used to erect a regulation hockey
rink with side boards each winter. I was never much of a skater, but for some
reason I could skate backward fairly well, so I usually played defense.

One afternoon, when I was about 13 years old, an opposing player picked up a loose puck on my side of the ice and came roaring in on me. I skated backwards as fast as I could when suddenly I found myself in the water over my head. Luckily when I desperately came up, I found the opening, only a few feet wide.

I got my elbow onto the edge of the ice, and, projected by panic, thrust my body out of the water. It was said there was a spring on the southeast corner of the rink, an area that always was the last to freeze. The ice was thin where I broke through but the edge, luckily for me, was thick enough to hold my weight and allow me to use my elbow like a fulcrum to escape.

Then I had to walk home, about a mile, as the sun went down and  a layer of ice
covered me from head to toe. I literally made a crunching sound as I dragged myself home. It wasn't until I slipped into the cellar to shed my clothing that I realized I had a cut from just under my ear, down across my neck and across the chest, caused by breaking though the ice. After that I stuck to basketball.

jack driscoll, Class of 1952

July 6, 2012

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