Our skating challenge at the mall’s ice rink was more of a success than we could have imagined. Max was at the front with an ice skating walker as people started hooking on to us, Max shouting, “Choo, choo, clang, clang, all aboard!”
The Little Engine That Could chugged around the rink several times to Duke Ellington’s “A Train” before it broke up. Everyone was laughing and applauding including the onlookers.
“Exhilarating!” I said to Max as we headed for the side rail. “You are a good sport not to mention an excellent engineer! Let’s do it again!”
The Little Engine That Could chugged around the rink several times to Duke Ellington’s “A Train” before it broke up.
He did a double take. “A moment like this is a once in a lifetime experience.” He took off his cap with the tassels and stuffed it into his pocket. “Never again!”
We clumped back to the skate rental office and fell onto chairs “Ah!” Max let out a deep breath. “Back at the station.” He sighed as we untied our skates.
Cutlass skated up grinning and holding Bobo by the waist.
“Who would have thought skating on ice took so much coordination?” Bobo said, wiping sweat from his brow with the red scarf that was no longer flapping in the breeze but hanging limp and lifeless from his neck. “But my hero saved me from being a complete train wreck,” he said, looking up at Cutlass, adoration in his eyes.
“This calls for a celebration,” I said, tugging my shoes back on. “With all the calories we burned, we could share a large pizza!”
In the bathrooms, we changed from our skating outfits back into our hot weather clothes and met at the gourmet pizza restaurant next to the rink. The hostess seated us by the window and we piled our bright pink shopping bags on one of the chairs.
“This calls for a bottle of wine!” I said. After it was uncorked and poured, I said, clinking glasses, “To our participation in the next Winter Olympics.”
“What category?’ Cutlass said. “The Bells and Whistles Event? Are we all on board?”
“Of course!” I laughed. “We’ll be hell on wheels!”
“This engineer is retiring,” Max said, sipping. “I won’t be railroaded into the Olympics.”
The pizza came, perfuming the air with basil, melted cheese and tomato sauce. We all reached for a slice.
I said, munching, “This is just the ticket.”
“Kind of derails the purpose of the exercise,” Max said, stuffing pizza into his mouth.
“Cutlass,” I said, “you were amazing! How could you keep your ice skating ability a secret from us all these years?”
Cutlass wiped his mouth. “Ice skating expertise doesn’t come up often when you live in the subtropics. But where skating is involved, I come from the right side of the track.”
I said, “I roller skated once when I was a teen. My mother even made me a white pleated satin skirt.”
“Did that express who you were?” Cutlass said.
“It was not a good look for a pear shaped girl.” I winked. “It was not a whistle stop tour.”
Just then a group of skaters who had been part of the train walked by our window and waved. Some of the women blew kisses at Max. He waved back, smiling.
“Max, don’t get sidetracked by inexperience,” I said. “With practice, we would be the light at the end of the tunnel at the Olympics!”
“My dear,” Max said. “You have tunnel vision where I am concerned.”
I laughed and made a motion like I was pulling a whistle cord on a train. “Stop! Stop! We’re getting punchy and running out of steam. We’re on a fast track.” I raised my glass in a toast. “Here’s to enjoying the ride!”