Night Skate. Rememberance of South Shore Chicago 50+ years ago.

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Night Skate. Rememberance of South Shore Chicago 50+ years ago.

Post  fortuna on Thu May 11, 2017 12:04 pm

Night Skate

He sat in front of his fire place staring into the flames as they
burned low above their red embers. He sipped his bourbon which slowly
was taking effect. The combination of heat and alcohol made the
gray haired man sleepy and calm. He continue to stare into the fire
and his mind drifted back to another time when as a young boy he had
sat in front of another fire.

He sat on a wooden bench in front of a large pot belly stove. His
thick corduroy pants were wet with patches of melted snow. His old
coat and two sweaters were steaming as the outside cold met the warmth
of the hot cast iron. He removed his hat and rubbed his large red
ears. They seem to burn as they began to thaw. His flat top haircut
has icicles hanging form the tips of his hair. His fingers were stiff
from the cold and he blew into his fists warming them up. He looked
down at his feet and saw his skates. They were an old pair of brown
hand-me-down hockey skates. They had scuff marks all over them.
There was no telling how many kids had worn them over the years. They
were a little big for him but he filled them out with three pairs of
sweat socks. Mr. Brown, of Brown’s Hardware, had done of masterful
job of sharpening them. He was a cutlery genius and a wonderful man
as well. He wiped the freshly honed blades with his gloves and they
gleamed in the fire as the old man Kelly open the stove door and
placed more wood into the fire. The room smelled of smoke and the
air had a misty quality to it. The wooden benches were full of kids
putting on their skates and tightening their laces. It was a cozy
happy place full of laughter, smiles, and innocence.

The young boys hands had thawed and he tightened his laces. He rose
and walked over the splintered floor boards which years of kids
walking on skates had created. The door opened and he walked into
the falling snow. It was night and the only lights came from a large
yellow light over a telephone pole out in front of the wooden shack.
He gazed out on to the ice covered football field of 75th street.
Across the pond he noticed roofs of the Thunderbird Motel. They
arched up like bird wings as they slowly rose in the air. Behind him
was the lake blowing its snowy wind and causing drifts of great
height. All around the ice pond were large piles of snow that had
been plowed off the ice. Hundreds of kids were playing king of the
mountain and throwing snow balls at each other. On the ice great
games of tag were being played. He could hear the ice crunch as his
old CCM’s cut and gouged the ice. He skated over to the south end
zone of the field. There were the metal goal post rising out of the
snow bank. He climbed the snow hill and rested against the pole. The
snow sparkled in the night light as he gazed up at a full moon. It
was a most unusual moon. It had a complete rainbow encircling it.
Like the prism of a glass or sprinkler on a summer day the winter snow
had created this perfect misty rainbow all around the full moon. Many
of the kids stopped their play and just stared up a the multicolored
sphere. He had never seen the moon like this before nor would he
again. He climbed down the the hill and skated back to the shack. It
was time to call it a night. He went back to the shack and removed
his skates. It always felt so good to put his shoes back on after
hours in the skates. He started home. He could her the rumbling of
the IC roaring down Exchange Ave. headed to its Windsor Park stop. A
block away on 74th street home awaited.

The old man poured himself a second glass of Bourbon and drew on his
cigar. He smiled into the fire and remembered the wonderful winters
of his youth. He remembered those friends and places when the Shores
of the South turned white and football field turned to ice. He felt
blessed.

Seasons Greetings
El Greco

fortuna

Posts : 359
Join date : 2016-01-10
Location : somewhere in USA

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