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by Bill Arnold

After the kids go to bed and the world seems to be settling in for the night the “Rink Master” is on the job. He goes out in the cold to begin his daily routine. He turns on the floodlights and spends some time looking at the work ahead of him. He sees the backyard rink with scattered lines from skates covering the surface. The surface is no longer shiny, but dull from the day’s activity. Some snow is still on there from the stops and hard turns of the day. Some ruts have formed from the relentless skaters of the day making their way around the rink. He realizes that yet again the backyard rink has brought joy and laughter to another group of people. He gets out his tools and gets ready to make it all beautiful again.

 

He starts by scraping the surface of the excess snow with his favorite scraper or shovel. The scraping fills in the deep ruts and gets them ready for the repairs ahead. Sometimes he runs a broom over the rink after the scraping to get the surface nice and clean. He then gets out his hose and hooks up his home made Ice Resurfacer. He turns on the water and begins to make pass after pass on the rink overlapping each one as he goes. The water flows over the lines, ruts and cracks and makes them disappear. As he walks back and forth he can see through the ice again. He can see the debris trapped in the many layers of the ice that have formed from the many surfaces that he has put down since the season started. He can see air bubbles in the layers and a leaf or two that fell into the rink before it froze solid. Occasionally he hears a thunderous crack caused by the warm water flowing over the frozen rink. He pauses and inspects the new crack, checking that it hasn’t breached the surface of the rink. The water smoothes out over the surface and brings back a luxurious shine.

He makes his final pass and exits the rink, turning off the water on the handle of his Ice Resurfacer as he does. He hangs up his Ice Resurfacer and shuts off the tap. As he makes his way back towards the rink he admires the beauty of the fresh coat of water. He pauses and catches the light reflecting off the rink from the floodlights and watches as the ice crystals form right in front of him. He has a sense of accomplishment as he stares into the night sky and then at his rink. The rink has a glow to it and it makes him smile as he stares at it as if it was the first time he had seen such beauty. He puts his tools away, wraps up the hose and again stares at his rink.

The cold now starts to creep in and makes him realize that his job is done for the night and he has done it well. The surface is as fresh as it was this morning and is now ready for another busy day of fun and laughter. He turns off the floodlights and again admires his creation one last time. There is peace on earth as he stands there in the quiet of the night, just him his rink and the light of the moon.

The rink master retreats back into his warm house realizing that tomorrow the kids, family, friends and neighbors will be back for another day of skating. He is OK with that as that is why he does what he does. He is, after all, the “Rink Master.”

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