Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Day = Try New Thing

Jr.Gopher#1 got a pair of ice skates for Christmas. He was thrilled. Today we finally got a chance to try them out. His buddy from St. Albert's had to cancel our visit on the 26th due to the soggy snow trashing the ice surface on their back yard's mini-ice rink. Well, Longfellow Park wasn't exactly the Xcel Center, but it was at least (mostly) fairly flat. Someone must have gone over it with a Zamboni between the 26th & today.

He was at least passingly interested in the pick-up hockey going on. A family (mom, dad + 2 small boys his age) were playing 2 on 2; a couple grown men were playing around at the other end of the rink). I had to explain that it was like soccer: hit the puck through the net, and no, it's not a ball, it's a "puck". Since it doesn't cost anything for tickets, and no reservation is required, I think I'll take him to a Gopher Women's game. National Champions can't be too bad for a starter. And, as it's free, if he loses interest 10 min. into the 1st period, I'm not out anything.

This is, after all, the land of Pond Hockey. A traditional requirement for manhood. There are at least a dozen lakes here within the city limits of Minneapolis, and several dozen, if not 100, within the Twin Cities. Really. The city, however, puts ice rinks in the parks without lakes/ponds. Lay down liner, flood, wait; repeat if necessary. Several of them have hockey rinks installed for city league or school games. One in St. Paul apparently even has the ice surfaced every day.

Jr.Gopher#1 managed to actually become self-propelled for a dozen meters/yards or so. He was thrilled with himself. So was I. I've never tried to teach anyone to skate; I'm barely proficient myself. I once managed to skate backwards. And, as they say, once only counts in horseshoes & hand grenades.

Or is that "close"? I'd probably recall better if I hadn't just sucked down quite a bit of the lovely Irish water of life in celebration of the blessed new year... :-) Although, considering I can type without error at about 45-50 wpm, I figure the alcohol isn't that much of an impediment to my faculty. Probably my Irish genes.

We were @ St. Albert's this evening. The annual New Year's Eve gaming night was on; no, not the gaming that I used to do with the Gaming Guys on Friday nights in my basement... These people brought out the ancient artillery; every possible board game known to Milton Bradley and man kind. Occasionally people would wander past the tables of games looking at things that we, middle aged people, haven't seen since we were kids. Just sitting around, chatting & playing games. And, since it's a Catholic church, I don't think anyone minded the fellow drinking Summit, rather than the pink lemonade. The boys had fun; I was subjected to the proficient maternal Catholic Guilt Trip when the Other Elizabeth asked me to join in a set of some game. Unfortunately she asked just as we were leaving...

We wish you & yours a peaceful and boring New Year.
(Boredom is highly underrated: it's always better to be able to seek Excitement, rather than have it seeking you!)


ccyager said...

Happy New Year! Glad that Jr. Gopher #1 got to try his skates before too long. I loved ice skating when I was a kid -- even though I damaged my knees in the process of whipping around the frozen pond in Neewha Park in my hometown. I'd skate for hours and hours. It really helped that they had music on the PA system all the time too. We skated to music or not. I was a little speed demon on the ice. I loved going fast.

The Irish "water of life"?

Gopher MPH said...

the word whiskey/whisky is derived from the Gaelic word for it, usquebaugh**, which means "water of life" and sounds sort of like we pronounce whiskey. The Gaelic equivalent of aqua vitae.

**this is the spelling from Wikipedia (the easiest place I could think of) ... which doesn't look quite right to me, but neither did the other etymological items it listed.

ccyager said...

I'm Irish too, so I can say this -- the definition sounds like an Irish excuse for drinking whiskey whenever they're thirsty instead of real water....(laughing)

They also REALLY love their Guinness.