No mediation stats this month, just a sweet and true Christmas story.
Perryville, Missouri was a small town in rural southeast Missouri, and back in 1970 the Interstate highway that now links Perryville to the Big City, was incomplete. Like many small towns without an interstate linking it to the rest of the world, Perryville was a mail order town. Way before Amazon, we had the Sears catalog. This was an amazing, fat, slick paper book, three inches thick, with clothes, tools, dishes, shoes, bicycles and ice skates. We adored pouring over its pages to check out fashion and even made our own paper dolls out of the models and their trendy clothes. We had to be self-sufficient.
Perryville had a mail-order catalog store, where orders were delivered and then we picked up our orders—no home delivery. When I was 10 and my sister was 9, our parents ordered ice skates for us. We owned a farm with plenty of ponds and even a lake and every winter we skated on the frozen ponds. That was a delight! We watched the weather and knew after two full days of freezing temperatures the ponds would be icy. Dad would return from the farm and we bombarded him with questions about the status of the ice. When he gave us the green light, we were dressed and ready to skate.
At the farm Dad would walk out on the ice to check out if it could bear his weight. Always there would be some underwater settling and cracking adding to the thrill and dangerousness of our adventure. He would lace up our skates, as tight as possible, please, and then build a cozy fire on the shore to stand around to warm up. So fun, but we had no store selling skates so they had to be ordered and in the correct size. One cold December my parents ordered the skates and yahoo—they came in right before Christmas. My skates were gorgeous: white with a figure skate pick in front and a light blue layer of insulation inside. They fit and I could barely wait to get out on the ice and give them a whirl. Then tragedy struck! My sister’s skates did not fit. The size was wrong and they had to be returned. This was, at best, a two-week endeavor and who knows what the condition of the ice would be like then. And it was Christmas Eve and this was her gift. She cried and I cried inside because she was my skating buddy and I was not skating if she was not.
Some secretive negotiations must have occurred between my parents, because next thing I knew we were hauled into our four door, rear wheel drive. sedan and headed to the Sears store in St. Louis. This was a BIG deal; a two to three-hour late afternoon drive on two lane roads with foggy conditions to the City. We never went to the City. Too far. Too dangerous to drive and why go there, when Perryville had everything and everyone we wanted. Excitement reigned in that back seat. We were picking up skates that fit. We were going to a mall, a real mall and maybe a stop at McDonalds. I do not even want to tell you how exotic that seemed to a small town, 10-year-old.
The electricity wore off during that long drive and I fell asleep but we arrived and yes, the skates were there and they fit. So awesome! Not sure if exotic hamburgers were on the menu but we drove back, and she and I fell asleep again and were carried to our beds with no sugarcanes dancing in our heads but plenty of imagined circles skated around that old pond. It all came true the next day when we snuck away from our relatives’ and their boring questions about school to conquer the frozen pond with our new skates. Thank you, Mom and Dad!