New Skates at 67?

I mentioned yesterday that I am walking. Each evening I walk almost 5 miles at a brisk pace, brisk for me. My pace is about 16:30 per mile, any quicker and my heart and arthritis begin to complain, vociferously. In the beginning, motivation was an issue. Walking five miles without a real purpose or real destination works on your mind. If I could carry my camera that might help. The camera however is too heavy and awkward to carry while walking at close to 4 mph. When I say it like that it sounds like I’m approaching the speed of sound.

Walking in the light allows me to keep my pace more even. I don’t have the momentary speed increases for the aforementioned ravenous and rapid creatures and things that might go bump in the bush. I have been successful and have lost more than 25 pounds. This time I am changing my attitude about food and will not gain the weight back.

Earlier this year I wrote the first part of the story about building an outdoor skating rink. I never finished part two. It is on the to do list though. But in the process of building and using the outdoor rink I broke a vow I made to myself about 17 years ago. I played hockey and I refereed hockey until I was about 50. I could have retired then if only I had taken the money offered by the fans who watched the hockey I refereed and the players on my team if only I would quit. They had a party when I retired from refereeing hockey, I wasn’t invited…

The vow? I would never buy another pair of new skates. I remember when I got my first pair of real skates. Tacks, by CCM. Tacks are short for Tackaberry, named after their original maker George Edwin Tackaberry. George revolutionized skate boot construction in the early part of the 1900’s. He died in 1937 and his wife sold the patent to CCM, hence the CCM Tacks some of us wear to this day. I remember that the legend included wearing your Tacks in the bathtub to get the leather to form to your foot. Nobody told me you didn’t have to wear all your equipment in the tub. Plus, skate guards might be a suggestion.

My first and only real leather Tacks were uncomfortable for the first month or so. Then almost overnight they molded to my feet and they were my skates for more than 12 seasons. I kept them around for another 10 years or so and I guess they just got lost in the shuffle. In their wake, I had Bauer skates and Lange skates but I always missed my Tacks. When I finished playing and refereeing I was wearing a pair Bauer skates. This particular pair was around quite a while and had gone through about four pairs of blades. One of them is still here. I don’t know where the hell the other one is.

My grandson was fairly insistent that I skate with him and his parents on the rink I built. I agreed but I had one skate and a vow. With grandchildren things are different and so are vows. I bought a new pair of skates, at 68 years of age. They have the Tack name as well. They are comfortable, no need to wear them in the bathtub or hot tub. They aren’t the expensive ones. They are however more comfortable and lighter than any skate I have ever worn. More importantly it only took me two or three weeks to teach them to skate.