My brother-in-law is not one of them—the ice fishermen, I mean. He is afraid of the ice. He is not afraid of cubed ice or the stuff that forms on automobile windshields. Actually, he is not afraid of the ice per se. He is afraid that the ice will break apart and the lake will swallow him and his beer the instant he steps onto the surface of the lake.
I have tried to coax my brother-in-law onto the ice many times. A typical conversation trends something like this:
Me: Let’s go on the ice.
Bro-in-law: I don’t do ice.
Me: We’ll be fine. I’ll give you a life vest to wear. Or, I can tether you to me and a six-pack of beer. One or the other of us will save you if something goes south.
Bro-in-law: I don’t trust the ice. It made weird noises last time I was on it.
Me: Come on. That was almost forty years ago. You told me yourself. We were all wearing polyester and men were wearing high-heals back then. Disco sucked. Remember? The ice is better now.
Bro-in-law: I’m not going to listen to you.
Me: It’s January. The ice is two feet thick. People drive trucks on it!
Bro-in-law: People are stupid.
I must admit, you can’t argue his last salvo of logic.
Two days ago, our young friend Carson asked if he could access the ice from my place. Somehow, he managed to talk my brother-in-law into visiting him at the lake. This “visiting” usually involves my brother-in-law yelling at ice fisherman from the shore. After running some errands in town, I dropped down the hill to see the two of them.
Holy hell! My brother-in-law was on the ice…sort of. He was sitting on my dock drinking beer with Carson when I arrived.
“You on the ice?” I asked my brother-in-law.
He nodded. “I walked out to the second hole out there,” he used his beer as a pointer and gestured toward the string of rigs on the ice.
“Wow. I’m impressed.”
“It isn’t so bad,” he admitted.
Both of them pointed with their beers. I walked out and found a couple of four-pound trout on the ice near one of the holes. The ice made a weird whale-song sound just under my feet as I peered down at the fish. Fortunately, my brother-in-law did not hear it.
If you live out here in Winterworld, you need to step on the ice now and then. The air is sweet on warmer days. The sun feels great when it shines. Glad my brother-in-law found his way. Fortunately, I had my smarter-than-me-phone with me. I was able to capture a photograph of Carson, my brother-in-law, and their version of ice fishing. My brother-in-law is the guy tipping his beer at you. Please don’t make any unusual noises…we’ll never get him on the ice again.