We are, of course, the State of Hockey, and learning to skate is part of the legacy. With the warm winter, however, there's been no good outdoor ice on which to start teaching the grandkids. So on Friday we just surrendered to reality and headed for Prairie Island Arena and open skating time, so Sam and Annie could become the third generation to skate on the ice sheet where I played men's league for several years, and where William played his high school hockey.
Annie went first, and we started her off with the traditional "walker" so she could get used to the surface. It was a bit of a struggle, but she started to get the hang of it. (She's four years old).
After a half hour or so, she started making some tentative steps on her own, and before we left, she made it all away across the ice without falling, although the grip on Opa's hand was pretty tight!
(And you've got to love my vintage goalie skates, purchased at Bill St. Mane's sporting goods in the winter of 1979-80 and still going strong hundreds of games and 32 years later.)
For Sambo, at age 2, it was more of a struggle. He made a couple attempts with the walker, but he just doesn't quite have the balance yet. But he was thrilled just to be on the ice, and at the end he sat for a picture atop one of the same nets his Opa and Uncle Will used to defend.
I've said before that being Opa is the best job I've ever had, and that's especially true on days like this.