Caleb Smith's “Echoes of the Heart” has inspired me to recall those halcyon days long ago on the frozen ponds of my youth.
It was hockey from early morn to the darkening shades of late afternoon with only a short break for a quickly devoured Campbell's Vegetable Soup for lunch. My closest friend was Ken. You very rarely saw one of us without the other, we were inseparable. Our hockey sticks were battered and thin and only bore a slight resemblance to hockey sticks we got each year for Christmas. The pond was a wide frozen body of water beside a well traveled highway to the distant land called the United States. But in our minds it was The Montreal Forum filled with screaming fans cheering on our every move. We would take turns being the great Maurice “The Rocket” Richard while the other would be all-star goalie Jacques Plante! It could have been minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit but we never felt the cold and icy winds... we were superstars.
On a few occasions I have revisited that hallowed ground where we spent hour upon hour, oblivious to time, our faces frozen as well as our ears and our toes! The cheering of the imaginary crowds was all the inspiration we needed to fire a blistering shot through the imaginary pads each other was wearing. At the end of the day, we literally had to crawl home on our hands and knees, our ankles no longer being able to support our tired legs.
Those sweet memories have stayed with me for a lifetime. I'm sure with my last breath of life, the vision of Ken and me will flash before my eyes. Ah yes, hockey, it was what young Canadian boys lived for back then!
© Jack Ellison 2013