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Our Rink

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When the ice was thick enough to haul wood across, the lake would become our rink for skating and hockey.We used to play hockey from the minute we cleared the snow off to the minute the ice started to crack and melt.We had to have a rink for the boys and a rink for the girls because the girls wanted nothing to do with hockey.All they did was complain about us playing hockey all the time, so we made them a rink of their own where they could skate and we could play hockey in peace.

We used to make up hockey teams and set up a little game between friends.We’d cut a slice of birch off a tree and that would be our hockey puck.The hockey sticks would be made out of alders, curved up a bit at the bottom to make ’em shoot better. We had a team, although I don’t remember everyone’s names.There was Leonard Murphy, my brother Stanley, Glen Murphy, Russel, Miles Murray and Ray Hunt, to name a few.Ray was the goalie.With no hockey stick, Ray would use his scraper to both clear the ice and to guard the goal.He used old catalogues and cardboard boxes tied to his legs for pads.We’d use boots to mark the goals and some of us would cheat and put the boots closer together.

I remember one time when we lost the puck.It flew down the rink and ‘plop’, right into the water; it was gone.There were always horses and oxen crossing the lake so we managed to find some horse manure-frozen of course.We used that manure patty as a puck for the rest of the day.It was frozen solid which made it a little difficult to play with. In the middle of the game, one of the little guys made a break and went flying down the ice with the manure puck heading straight towards his father, who was the goalie for the other team.

His father, padded with catalogues from head to toe, yelled out, ‘Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!’
That little guy drew back and hit that manure with all his might sending it flying through the air, knocking the smoking pipe out of his father’s mouth.His father was furious. I wouldn’t want to get a face full of horse manure either.

‘I told you not to shoot!’ he shouted.The little guy started running for his life and his father took off after him. Neither of them was very good at running with skates on and they kept falling down. Anyways, the game ended there. We felt sorry for the little guy, but it was one of the funniest things we ever saw.Those were the good times.

*Richard was born in Pabos in 1933 and worked as a crane operator for the Gaspesia Company for 25 years until retirement.He loves mechanics and working on motors and is a wonderful storyteller and fiddler.He still resides in Chandler.