Grandpa’s Zamboni

Grandpa’s Zamboni

At this time of year, many people find Lake Murray a little depressing.

I can understand this-you can’t ski or swim, fishing is pretty difficult as well. A boat ride in a cold, whipping wind is a miserable experience. The water is very low and there are mud pits around the docks. The whole area is gray, and looks used up and thrown away.

However, many people are wrong. When the lake is down, you can find treasures that were once thought lost, such as a fishing pole or sunglasses. You can sit on a porch deck bundled in blankets and feel the silence. You can watch the squirrels and birds clearly on the leafless tree branches. You can just exist, without worrying about what task or errand needs to be done next.

When our dad is working long weekend shifts (restaurant guy, remember?) we like to plan an escape to the grandparents lake house. I often call my oldest friend to join us with her two children. The lake house is way out in Saluda County, where cell phones only work sporadically and there is no email. We will cook ahead so that we can eat healthy, and there is always a bottle of wine for moms to enjoy after kids are in bed.

The lake house has toys and games that aren’t seen very often, but mostly, it has the benefit of wide open spaces, inside and out. This includes an unfinished basement. Now my parents are clean freaks who like every thing in its place and looking nice. Therefore, the basement isn’t typical; there are several coats of light grey paint on the floor, the walls are bright white, and it is well lit. There is a locked storage room for tools, but the main area is empty. When our five children went down to play last time, we figured they would get bored in minutes. We were wrong.

It turns out that the painted basement floor makes an excellent ice skating rink when thick socks are worn. The children loved skidding around the brick supports, pretending to spin and doing tricks. However, the best part was the Zamboni, really large green push broom that ordinarily sweeps up wood shavings. As the children experienced pure, uninterrupted fun, the noise factor grew louder every minute-but who was around to hear it? We had to force them to come up for bedtime. The first thing that they wanted to do when they got up the next morning was troop down to the basement for a quick game of Zamboni tag before breakfast. By the end of the weekend, the only way we could get them to leave was by promising a return visit at the next school holiday.

When I called Grandpa to tell him how much we enjoyed his Zamboni, he was understandably a little confused. He didn’t realize that his clean basement area was really an ice rink. It’s a shame how your vision changes when you get older.


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