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Thin Ice Painting Story

Fay is a first class figure skater. I think that she could have been a champion if she had been willing to leave the small kids and go out for it seriously.

She was always anxious to get skating as early as possible after the freeze-up. This time the pond had only just frozen, and I felt that she was rushing the season. For such occasions I had wound a clothesline on a board like a trolling line. I sat on the bank sketching, with this contraption beside me. But she laid out her eights, arabesques, and other required and optional curlicues all over the smooth dark surface without breaking it anywhere.

Only once has the rescue line been used. She was skating on a larger lake, keeping close to shore because there had been some warm weather and the ice looked doubtful. Suddenly two young men appeared at the end of the lake. She tried to wave them back, but one of them skated straight for the center so fast that he skimmed over a lot of rotten ice before breaking through.

Fay handed the line to the other skater. He managed to toss the end of it to the man in the water, but was unable to pull him out. Fay had figured there was no use going out there unless it was necessary, but not it obviously was. So she skated out and took hold of the rope too, keeping well apart from the other to avoid putting too much weight on one spot. Together they were able to pull the man up on the ice, but it broke through under him. This happened many times, but finally they dragged him to stronger ice and then out.

When I came to pick her up I stepped off the length of the break, keeping a respectful distance toward shore. It was over a hundred and thirty feet. A flock of little snowbirds had landed beside it and were having a drink.

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