I am so happy to be in a small town that kind of revolves around its skating rink, in the same way a Canadian town might. Almost all the kids at least learn how to do it. Some are really excellent at it. Family dramas take place along the edge of the ice. People are surprised when I say I'm from Cloudcroft and they don't know me.
We've only been here five or six months, and of course they do know the kids, who are all in school here. For me, though, going down and hanging out in the little fire room, the place you put on your skates, is the one public place where I stop and actually talk to people. It's a friendly town. You can't just walk around and not talk to people.
So there are these issues related to the skating rink. One, if some kids remove the orange cones in order to play a game, does any adult have the right to reprimand them and tell them to put them back on the soft spots on the ice? The other night I actually fell twice, on the soft spots, though it was my own fault, because 1) I hadn't told them to put them back, and 2) I should have known where the soft spots were, since I had seen the orange cones in the first place. Another kid came along and took a huge dive in the same spot; it was his sister, probably, who had removed the cones. I'm not really sure about people's relationships here, so don't quote me on who did it. It was bad enough, at my house, that the girls insisted that it wasn't them, but had to be the other girls, and we let it go at that, as my shoulders are still sore, and I'm a bit crabby about the subject.
Second, there are these signs all over the place, and nobody knows where they came from. I figure, they had to come from the school, but if they did, nobody spoke up and said it. Also, only one, as far as I could tell, was directly related to skating, most seemed to be just general signs. Pretty, and well-made, but not directed at skaters, really. It's a mystery. I'll put the question out there, and answer it later, maybe.
Finally, how does anyone have a clue when it's open and when it's closed? It seems like we've been over a week with temps around 30, above in the day, below at night. Not enough, in my book, to keep the ice good. Somehow they've kept it open anyway. The trouble, says the guy who does the skates, is when there's water beneath the ice. I saw soft spots, which was trouble enough for me, but I didn't see water beneath the ice. We had a couple of good skates in this kind of weather, much to my surprise. So it's the kind of thing, like the hill down to alamo, that you just have to keep watching until you know how it works. People tend to ask me this stuff because I look older and look like I'm part of the furniture. But I'm not, I just got here. I'm glad I'm not in charge, too. That "skate at your own risk" sign is not enough to keep most people at bay.