Monday, August 1, 2011

Thin Ice

It was November and Texas had been overtaken by an unseasonable cold snap. Temperatures dipped into the thirties and below. Sleet was the talk of the week and the thin layer of ice on our pond clouded any good judgment Kris and I had.

Two curious kids—who’d seen way too many cartoons with children ice-skating on frozen ponds—had an idea . . . a dangerous idea. We were going to race each other to the center.

We bundled up in our warmest outfits, told our parents exactly where we were going—just not what we were doing—then walked down to the pond, narrowly avoiding many falls on the ice along the way.

Around the edge of the water, the ice was so thick we couldn’t see anything but white. I grabbed a stick and tried to break through.

It was solid.

“You’re lighter, you try first,” Kris said.

Not one to back away from a challenge, I stepped one foot onto the ice. The sound should have been warning to get off, but I ignored the cracking echoes in the cold air around us and put my full weight onto the thin layer of frozen water.

Looking over my shoulder, I smiled at my brother standing on the bank like a scaredy-cat. “Are you coming?”

Every minute on the ice I got braver—or stupider—and slid further and further away from the edge. With my arms spread out at my sides, I balanced myself and imagined what it would feel like to be an ice-skater flying around on actual skates, stunning a crowd with a triple lutz and all that other stuff.

Kris worked up the courage to join me, taking each step with caution, and together we made our way to the center—there was no racing, both of us were too scared to go fast.

The ice moaned, cracked and split under our feet. We looked down. I could see water bubbling through. We were about to become a statistic and at that moment I knew we were idiots.

“We should go back,” Kris said, his hand sweating even though the temperature didn’t deem it appropriate.

I nodded.

We turned around; the bank looked like it was a million miles away. Cracking rang in my ears. Panic set in and my heart raced. Abandoning all intelligent thoughts, we slid as fast as we could toward the edge. Thoughts of turning into a popsicle flooded my mind and I just knew we were going to die.

But the ice held up long enough for us to make it to dry land again, and when we did we fell onto the bank and laughed our asses off.

“Want to do it again?” I asked even though there was no way I would ever get back on that ice.

“Go ahead.” Kris laughed.

Shaking my head, I shivered; my body wasn’t used to the bite the air had in it. “Let’s go back.”

Kris got up and offered me his hand. “Don’t tell Mom and Dad.”

Grabbing his hand, I stood up and we went back to the house—one more secret shared between us, one more experience to warn everyone in the world not to have, one more memory with my big brother I’ll never forget.


  1. Why you crazy kids!? Just the thoughts of going down into that water is giving me shivers as I write this. Brrr! But nice that it's a cool shared memory you have with your brother. Great post, as always.

  2. Hi Krystal -

    I like this story a lot as I have 2 stories very similar although much different outcomes. They are on my "to-write' list and just haven't gotten there yet.

    So are you big sister to Kris, or the bold, brave, and gutsy little sis? LOL either way you are the adventurous little girl - aka. snake woman! I can't wait to read up on future adventures from "down on the farm". Happy Monday to you. :)

  3. It's probably a bad sign that I'd have done something similar given the chance.

  4. Thank you Derek. :-)

    We were stupid. And Matt...I'm so glad you didn't do it. Every winter there's news of kids falling through ice and dying horrible deaths.

    Charlie - I am the adventurous little sister. Kris and I had a way of getting into trouble together, though.

  5. Thank goodness ya'll were okay!

  6. Awesome writing, and a great story. I relate -- given some of the dumb things I did as a kid, I'm lucky to be alive about 1000x over...

  7. I love these kinds of stories! My mother would have had a heart attack long before I made to teenager had she know half the stuff I did. But then, when I was a kid, helmets weren't required on bicycles....

  8. I didn't know this was a true story at first, and dreaded the part I just knew was coming up; you and your brother falling through the ice. I'm glad you two are ok. :) Nice writing.

  9. Yep. Every Monday it's a new piece of My Life remembered. :-) Any other day of the week there's no telling what you'll get on here.

    Thanks for visiting.

  10. Every kid skates on "thin ice" sometimes. Just goes to show we can't protect our children from every crazy thing they might try, so I'm going to resort to prayer...and then benzos ;-)

  11. Those kind of memories are the best. Takes me right back to some of my own adventures. Thanks for sharing! :)

  12. Great memory Krystal - You and your bro - you could write a whole book about it!

  13. As a parent, doesn't that just scare the crap out of you? LOL. I used to think my husband was SO much fun until I realized our kids would be related to him. Now, well, there's THIS! ;c) I'm glad you survived, though. My days would be so empty without you!

  14. Kids and ice-skating eh! I could almost see you guys there saying "let's do that again!"


  15. Aww, Sarah my days would be empty without you, too. I pray my kids don't do the bad things my brother and I did. My mom eyes will be watching them. Any sign of trouble and they are toast! :-)


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