A big part of my childhood was spent on skates. I learned to skate on a frozen ditch in our yard when I was six. The next summer, my family moved into town, and we lived right next door to an irrigation pond and across the road from a large public pond.
We weren't allowed to cross the road by ourselves so we were satisfied skating on the pond next door, we could go there anytime we wanted. The edges were full of cattails, and one day, a friend of mine fell on one and got a big gash in her hand which required sitches. After that she wasn't allowed to skate there anymore.
After I was old enough to cross the road, we could go to the pond across the road and we would spend as much time as possible skating, going home just to get something to eat and warm up a bit and back we'd go. We would go first thing in the morning and clean the ice off if any snow fell overnight. There was a stone and brick cottage with a fireplace at the edge of the pond where we would put our skates on. We would then climb out of the old window frame onto the ice. I can remember my brother, eager to skate, the first to test the ice at the start of the season, more than once jump out the window onto the ice and go right through it! Not ready yet, we'd say, laughing. It wasn't a deep pond, only about three feet deep, so he would just climb out, and we'd all go home.
My brother would play hockey with his friends and sometimes, if someone had to leave early, they would ask me to play goalie for them.
I liked speed-skating most of all, my brother, cousin and I could be found late at night, having races around the pond. I haven't skated since we moved away when I was seventeen. It's just not the same at a public skating rink.