Maine is once again embroiled in a headline-grabbing debate that is pitting neighbor against neighbor and big government against the common man. This fight is even going to bring chaos to my own, normally peaceful house very soon. You see, I’m going to have to tell my daughter that I’m breaking a promise I made to her last Sunday. I’m going to go back on my word. It’s going to undermine her trust in me forever.
Folks, it’s going to be ugly.
I mean, she really, really wants to go ice skating.
To be fair, I didn’t actually promise her she could go skating. What I said was if the cold holds and if things were looking safe enough she could probably go skating on our neighborhood pond this weekend if the weather was good. I left so many holes in that promise you could have driven an F150 hauling an ice shack through it. I don’t think it will matter. She heard what she wanted to hear. She’s been talking it up all week. She is going to be mad.
But, look. I made that promise before we had several days well above freezing. Before the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife folks told us to stay off the ice. Before I heard about an ice skater going through a different (admittedly larger) pond a few miles away. The skater got out and is fine, but the damage was done. I’m saying no.
Yes, our little pond is probably plenty safe, especially near the edge. Even if she did fall through, it would only be a few feet of water and then it would be a quick jog home to warmth. But you know what? Part of my job is teaching safety limits. Part of my job is teaching respect for the judgment of experts. Part of my job is adjusting to the whims of weather and other things we can’t control. And, most importantly, part of my job is making sure no one suffers hypothermia on my watch.
While out and about last weekend we learned that there are some amazing frozen puddles out in the woods. Chances of fun? Very high. Chances of falling through? Zero.
She’ll go for that again, right? This looks just as fun, right? Right?
Wish me luck. We’re gonna need it.