My husband Kyle is a pretty chill guy; there are, however, a few things for which he is deeply passionate. One is his interest in world history, especially as it relates to World War II. Another is his hatred of his lifelong favorite hockey team, the Edmonton Oilers. But both of those take a backseat to his one true love: our backyard hockey rink.
Backyard rink management is a very time-consuming activity. Beyond the obvious building and maintenance, having a backyard rink requires standing at the window looking at the rink, thinking about the rink, talking about the rink with your friends, adjusting the size of the rink once you find out your friend’s rink is bigger, setting up lights, setting up more lights, setting up so many lights your neighbors are unable to see the stars in the night sky, and shoveling things. It also requires a meteorologist-level expertise in weather assessment in order to determine that it’s too warm, too cold, too snowy, too dry, too windy, or too uneventful for the current ice conditions, which must be adjusted accordingly.
My husband grew up on a farm, so watching the weather has always been a big to-do, even in his PBR (pre-backyard rink) days. When he married me and moved to our non-farm, he contributed to our home decor with not one, but two digital weather monitors.
We were sitting on the back deck on an absolutely glorious July day this year when my husband looked up at the sky, down at one of those monitors, and back up at the sky again, and said,
“I’m going to start the rink early this year.”
Whatever the sky and the monitor told him that day wasn’t communicated to the rest of the universe because, as we all know, everyone in North Dakota has enjoyed a lovely, warmish North Dakota autumn except Kyle.
In late September, as our children ran around in shorts, Kyle thoroughly mapped out the rink locale, pulled out the boards, ordered new plastic, hooked together a million feet of hose, and repainted the “Kosior Gardens” sign.
For the next few weeks he’d go outside, walk the rink spot, and then do something like pack away the bikes or take down the trampoline in what I assume was an effort to will cold temperatures into the region.
By mid-October the “normal” weather had rolled in, and Kyle stood at our living room window and watched as a flurry of snow settle on the rink plastic.
“Are you going to flood the rink soon?” I asked.
“No,” he sighed, nodding in the direction of the other weather monitor. “It’s supposed to get warm again.”
Finally, this past weekend, the sky and the monitor and the universe realigned. On the unseasonably 70-degree Sunday, Kyle ceremoniously unrolled the plastic, set up the boards, and hung the “Kosior Gardens” sign. And last night, after temperatures dipped down into the 20’s, he began flooding the rink. As I type this he’s out there now, looking at his hose.
For much I like to tease him about the rink, Kyle’s passion is well-repaid. For every hour Kyle spends on working it, our nine-year-old uses it in triplicate. From sunup to bedtime, before school and after hockey practice, Nine is out there skating. Sometimes he is also shoveling. He is, after all, his father’s son.
I step foot on the rink once a year and take a picture so that the historical record shows I was a cool mom. Last year’s photo is above.
Speaking of actually cool people, this week’s news is about a theater troupe, the Girl Scouts, and some lifesaving volunteers. Read on.
I’m so happy – the fall Country Neighbors is here! (Bowman Extra)
A Bismarck non-profit called Wall of Honor has a three-year goal to have 300 displays statewide that celebrate the bravery of North Dakota’s veterans. (KX Net)
On November 20, 21, and 22, you can watch Dickinson High School’s theater production of “Game of Tiaras” via the school’s website. (Dickinson Press)
The North Dakota Girl Scouts has created six interactive learning adventures for scouts to access for free. (KX Net)
The Fargo Forum helped Gary Kopperud track down his friend, Homer Holm, after a 50-year search. (Fargo Forum)
The Minot Public Library gave away 250 Lego kits to get kids’ brains workin’. (KX Net)
Bismarck’s Scott Flach is looking for the family of his father’s Grand Forks-grown war buddy, Carl Nelson – who is buried in Hamm, Luxembourg. (Grand Forks Herald)
Veteran’s Day was yesterday and there were a lot of really great profiles and news pieces on North Dakota’s military families – like Harley and Darcy Schwind, who both enlisted in the North Dakota National Guard at 17 and retired in 2017 and 2018, respectively. (KX Net)
A group of Minot Meals on Wheels volunteers were the right people in the right place at the right time to help a family get out of their home during a fire. (KFYR TV)
If you live in Bismarck, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is now taking donations of toys and clothes to distribute Christmas gifts to kids around the community. (KX Net)