Pony Rides Again

by Andrew Patterson

Yesterday was my first day of work after a week of repose and relaxation. My shifted ended at 3:30pm. The sky was blue and the sun was bright. On my walk home, I stopped to pick up some beets to add to a less-than-satisfying borscht I had made the night before. I was determined to make that soup a deep purple, rather than a fleshy, dark pink. Determined to make it ooze with beet sweetness, rather than subtly remind one of what beets tasted like (I made it with golden and candystripe beets, which just aren’t strong enough to make a serious borscht), I stopped at the grocery store and picked up some extras to add to it.

Purple beetroot in my fist, I arrived home. Marching up the stairs, I met my roommate, D, at the landing in our front hallway.

“I’ve come to make things right” I said triumphantly, hoisting the beets above my head.

“I’m going for a skate” said D.

“Ooh, maybe I’ll go for a skate” I replied, immediately letting slip away any resolve regarding my soup.

I left the beets laid across the kitchen table, grabbed my sunglasses and toque and headed for The Oval.

For those unfamiliar, The Oval is a recent addition to The Halifax Commons: a public ice skating oval open most hours of the day, where skates are loaned out by the city with nothing more than a piece of ID necessary as collateral. No admission. No typical municipal fussiness. You just show up and get on the ice. A beautiful thing. On my last visit, I spoke with someone at the offices about programming an evening of music at The Oval. The woman behind the desk was skeptical, citing possible contractual obligations to sponsoring radio stations, but handed me an e-mail address and said “Good luck”.

Since, I have been in e-mail correspondence with one of the staff members who was, surprisingly, open to the possibility. I explained who I was and that I wanted to offer more appropriate programming for an evening, rather than having to hear top 40 dance music while I skated. She was eager to meet and discuss. Unfortunately, our schedules have not allowed that to happen yet. My (and maybe your?) dreams of hearing Ella Fitzgerald and/or Willie Tee blaring from loudspeakers across the Halifax Commons are on hold for the time being.

 

After my trip there yesterday, the realization of this dream seems all the more essential:

D and I arrived, I borrowed some skates from the skate trailer and we laced up. On our first or second go round, we saw some of our pals at the other side. We stopped to chat briefly while they laced up and then the five of us took to the ice. All with different skating abilities, we weaved in and out of crowds, partnered intermittently with each other and then pushed off to explore the crisp surface by ourselves.

Skating around, I saw plenty of kids ambling awkwardly towards their parents, arms outstretched, words of encouragement being shouted back to them. I saw teens teasing each other and ‘hot dogin”. I saw middle-aged folks, arms clasped gently behind their back, with a lightness in their stride and earnest contentment on their face. The sun was slowly setting over the apartment buildings to the far west.

As D and I rounded the end of The Oval back towards speaker system, I heard an unbelievable thing. It was funny and sad all at the same time.

If you recall the post I made about The Midway Fair in the fall, and you’ve caught on to the title of this post, then you know what I’m talking about:

 

Really HRM?

Maybe it’s just me, but Ginuwine is just too damn sexy for that scenario. It’s weird. It’s weird and it’s wrong.

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