Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Frozen Tar of East Fourth

The air was ice cold that
morning. Puffs of white
smoke rose from our mouths.

The black tar of East Fourth
was hard as a rock and the
roll of electric tape that we
used as puck, was frozen solid.

It slid on the street like a piece of ice, sliding and sliding
until it gently tapped the wooden blade of Pete’s Sherwood
hockey stick.

With a flick of his wrist Pete snapped
the puck as hard as he could.


The puck hit the frozen metal goal post of our
hockey net and deflected sideways like a bullet,
disappearing into the bushes that grew in front
of Bob Brennan's house.

But then suddenly it re-appeared, and gently
fell to the ground, wobbling until it was still.

Little Tommy Brennan (our goalie) did his best
glove save move too. Like a performer on stage Tommy
just “posed”, hoping for someone to take a “picture”
well after the puck stopped moving on the sidewalk.

But the puck didn't go in Tommy's glove this time,
no it "hit the post" instead, and totally missed.

“Someone get the puck”
“Hey, you shot it, why don’t you get it?”

While the guys were arguing over who was going to get it,
I just skated over to the puck and flicked it back in the street.

My wheels were frozen solid that day, and so were my toes.

You know we used to play street hockey all the time back then
in the 70’s. Sometimes at temperatures well below zero too.

And I still have the lumps on my shins and the hairline
fracture on my left elbow to prove it today.

No, it was never “too cold”
to go out to play back then.

No, never too cold at all.

Ron Lopez
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