How we count

PrincePond historical

Seven hot chocolate cups steaming
Pressed into sticky snow.
Four ice hockey teams
Teens and teens at heart,
crashing, slamming, stopping, loud!
Four boots used for gate markers,
One chair used for balance,
And then some other fun.
One lost glove
marking five frozen fingers.
Two wobbly toddlers
Hugging orange Home Depot bucket
Sliding in a circle,
Chubby legs like sun rays extended,
four tiny skates blades up.
Three graceful ladies
Practicing double axels.
One friend teaching me
to glide backwards
(not my favorite direction)
Twenty five houses
Lining the pond.
Five neighbors with three shovels
Scraping snow and imperfections.
Few dozen pucks gone missing,
To be discovered in spring.
Uncounted fish
shimmering under a foot of ice
(do they also skate under there?)
Two little ones holding my hands,
we need to practice how to stop.
One red bobber frozen into ice,
Could be the same one we lost last summer.
One-hundred-twenty-four years
Of our feet drawing patterns,
Carving figure eights,
And perfecting zeros.
Seven hot chocolate cups
Now empty.
Seven warm bellies,
Skating in bright moonlight.
Counting our blessings,
in One breath.


Inspired by our ice-skating grounds, a community pond which was established as our town’s outdoor ice-skating rink in 1892, and has been used by ice-skaters young and old since then. Historical records state that In 1894, a season ticket for ice-skating at the Grove Lake Skating Pond could be had for $1 for children 10 years and younger. Photo copyrighted to Downers Grove historical society.



About BeeHappee

Where have all the bees gone? Where have all the flowers gone?
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9 Responses to How we count

  1. Scott says:

    Really neat, thanks for sharing. Sounds like fun. I’ve heard it’s easier to learn to skate on a pond than in an indoor rink since the ice is rougher. Never skated outdoors, well not on purpose… 😉

    • BeeHappee says:

      I suppose you go slower outside due to rougher ice, yes. I had only been to a rink once or twice. We grew up with skating only outside, since we had no ice rinks anywhere close. Had you seen the book or the movie Hans Brinker (or the silver skates)? It takes place in the Netherlands and they skate on all the dikes.
      There is nothing like outdoor skating, unlimited hours, no rules, but still plenty of courtesy, unlimited possibilities. It is super fun when we get the right weather.

  2. migarium says:

    Today, it was snowy day in here, and this is an unusual situation for this city. Maybe not so much as I wanted, but it was really good. WD and I walked under the snows along time, we are happy, too much happy! And maybe you believe me, I could have cried with happiness, but I couldn’t:) I wanted to share this happiness with you my Earthling friend:)

    • BeeHappee says:

      Migo, that is so wonderful!! I hope WD got to stick his nose into the snow. 🙂 Thank YOU for sharing this happiness, it makes me double happy. I suppose that is all we northerners need, just a little bit of snow. 🙂

      • migarium says:

        Yes WD did make this! And absolutely right, we all need just a little bit snow! I can live with this happiness during six months, (I know after than very sunny days will come:) my dear Earthling friend! Thank you so much for your reply, I knew that you are the one of the people who can really understand me on this subject! And I will go out again little later, tralalala tralalala!! :))

  3. shoreacres says:

    We didn’t have ponds, but we had a wonderful park where they flooded a really big area every year. It was wonderful, because they maintained the ice. There was a huge brick shelter with one side open to the rink, and fireplaces at either end. Oh, it was fun. It was within walking distance of the house, and many a night I’d go down after finishing my homework and skate in the moonlight (or not, depending) and then walk home.

    in 1983, there was a terrible freeze in Houston. There were days below freezing — even the bay froze. The pipes in my apartment complex froze, too, and broke. Water flooded our courtyard, and everyone with a pair of ice skates enjoyed it immensely. I may have told you that, but every time I hear “ice skating,” it all comes back, and I have to tell the story again.

    • BeeHappee says:

      Thank you, Linda. Oh, fires sound good!! I saw a pic recently in Midwest Living magazine of a huge fire some place in Michigan, on ice, it looked incredible. (to have a 10 foot by 10 foot by 10 foot fire on ice). We have a few parks where they pour water to make ice-skating space. I love this pond because of the communal feeling, and it is in an old section of town. We skated, then walked a block to eat some pizza, then walked back to skate some more. The city maintains the ice, but also neighbors pitch in and clean it off when needed. People around the pond agreed to pay higher taxes to maintain it and preserve, it has large boulders around it and shelters.
      It has not been much or a freeze here this winter. For example, at our historic farm, they were not able to cut ice on the lake last weekend, it was not thick enough.
      I am glad your stories of ice skating came back, and thank you for sharing! 🙂

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