The family that inhabited the VX before us lived here for 25 years before the ranch sold and they moved out last winter.
They had 25 years to stretch out over a considerable acreage (and into several ranch buildings). And you might imagine that when you live 50 miles from the nearest feed store and 90 miles from the nearest Wal-Mart, every little treasure you bring home from town is, well, a treasure.
Suffice it to say they left a lot of stuff when they hit the road, stuff they just didn’t have the wherewithal to pack up and take someplace else.
It’s an interesting thing to sort through someone else’s abandoned stuff, which is what we’ve been doing for the last year.
Among the plunder is a collection of old-fashioned ice-skates in the garage of the big house. And I do mean collection. There are skates tiny enough for our 2-year-old and 5-year-old to wear. Skates big enough for adults. And every size in between.
The VX boasts an impressive series of man-made reservoirs. Without these reservoirs (and a system of waterlines that carry water from the main well to multiple watering tanks), this country would be uninhabitable even for the cows. There is very little natural water here, especially year-round.
The fellow who put this ranch together, the late Swede S., evidently had seen enough of dry times. He invested what had to have been a significant chunk of money in improving the water situation. These days we have at least 33 reservoirs and 26 miles of pipeline here.
So, when you combine the skates and the reservoirs and the single-digit days we’ve been having, who wouldn’t be begging Mom and Dad to go ice-skating?
Our kids and our niece and nephew, who spent Thanksgiving break with us, definitely were begging.
And so on Saturday afternoon we ice-skated. Our friends the McCaffrees were visiting — Mr. McCaffree was helping Beau rig up a new chimney in the shop — and that made seven kids in all, ranging from 12 years old to 8 months old, out on the ice of the reservoir in the bull trap.
Some of us made do just skating in our snowboots. Others among us insisted on putting on the skates we’d been dreaming all summer long of trying on.
(I wouldn’t have helped them put their skates on because my fingers were already cold at this point. But Daddy has a soft heart.)
I’m so glad we had 12-year-old Nate…
and 10-year-old Tay…
… here to help our little kids skate. Thank God for big cousins. They are our best friends.
We had a few falls…
… but all in all we were amazed by how well Asher and Emi did on their (new-to-them) garage-dust-covered, non-insulated, 1950s-model figure skates.
The ice was surprisingly clear, rock hard, and polished smooth by the wind. And it was a lovely way to share a Saturday evening with some of our favorite family and friends. (I vote we all should be using the word “lovely” more in our everyday speech. It’s underused here in America and it’s, well, lovely.)