CHAPTER XIV. ICE SKATING
C 2004 By Gracie Prior
Mary was so excited because her main present from her parents was figure skates. She loved the smell of white leather and the pretty red and black houndstooth checked lining, and most of all, the shiny silver blades. Jimmy got skates for Christmas, too, and Butch and Terry already had hockey skates. They were all going to walk the cold mile to the pond and skate till dinner. Mary wished she had one of those velvet short skating skirts her friend Britta had, buy she cheerfully put on her wool slacks and red sweater. One fancy touch she liked was a white fur earmuff headband. It would be warm and not mess up her hair. She grabbed her skates that were tied together and threw them over her shoulder.
"Mary," Mom called from upstairs. "if you are going skating, be sure to stay away from the far edge of the pond where there is a curb. The ice might be thin there. Go on and off by the shallow end."
"All right, Mom, I will. Good bye," Mary called.
Mary started walking to Jimmy, Butch and Terry's houses. She stopped on Jimmy's porch and called to him. He emerged with bright blue wool pants and a sweater with a reindeer embroidered on it. "Jimmy, hi! I see you have your new skates. Are you ready to go?"
"All set, Snow Princess. You look like Snow White in that."
"Thank you, Jimmy. How nice." Mary and Jimmy walked on to Butch's house. Butch came running out with his skates over his shoulder.
"Let's hurry and get Terry so we'll have more time to skate. I can't wait to get started."
Terry met them and the four winter snowbirds walked over and around puddles and slush and on to Crystal Pond. When they got there, all four sat and laced up their skates. Mary had skated before, but it seemed to be all new to Jimmy. Mary helped him with the laces. Butch and Terry took the lead out onto the ice. Then Jimmy got onto the pond and stood with his legs bowing in and out. Mary waited to make sure he would get the hang of things. He moved out onto the smoother ice and skated a few feet. He did not fall. He looked back at Mary. "See," he said, "Nothing to it." He slipped when he turned his head back and landed on his rump. Mary suppressed a laugh. He got up none the worse except now he had a large wet spot on his pants. Mary came alongside him and held his hand. They skated for awhile and Jimmy said, "You go on Mary, I need to practice a little. Then come back and I'll show you how good I'm doing."
Mary smiled and took off looking for Butch, Terry or Britta. She saw all three of them playing crack the whip. Butch was on the end of a long line of skaters. Mary skated quickly to catch up. With huge effort, she moved up by Butch and grabbed his hand. He looked at her and then the whole line lurched and the last two people were thrown off the whip. Butch and Mary were alone, hand in hand. They were going to catch up when Butch skated off to the curb. "I'm going to take a short cut and reach them on the other end."
Mary started to follow and then remembered what her mother had said. She skated away and looked at the group. They were on the other side of the pond now. She didn't follow Butch, but she was near a place where cement jutted out into the pond and there were rails on top. She was almost there. She thought she could just reach it and climb out and join Butch. As she went to reach out, she glanced at Butch. He was calling something. Sounded like, "Look out, Mary." She heard it but she was so close. Then there was a crack and Mary fell into the cold water below.
(Next time, come back and see what happens to poor Mary. Will she be rescued? What a mess.)