The Iceberg Incident
I have so many vivid memories of childhood. Some of them are wonderful, happy memories of playing with friends in open fields or helping my older brother to build an ice house in our front yard with tunnels that you could actually slide through.
Other memories involve not so happy events. One cold winter day, my brother Dan and I were spending some time down in the woods across from our house – which we did very often. Our older sister Nancy was with us. The edges of Annsville creek were frozen and one particular edge of it was big enough for both of us to stand on – which we did. It didn’t take long before we realized that we could actually chip away the edge that joined the iceberg to the bank and float on the creek. We found a rock and within minutes broke free from land.
Our sister was warning us the whole time not to do anything stupid. But we were young boys and our definition of stupid was much different than hers. Besides, everything was going well. We were like Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer floating on the water on a makeshift frozen craft. We were explorers. We were adventurers navigating through arctic waters on an ice raft with only sticks to guide us.
Then it happened. I had a brain fart and thought it would be a good idea to walk over to my brother’s side of the iceberg. To give me some credit, this incident happened long before I had been exposed to physics. Of course, when I crossed the middle of the iceberg, the side I was on (and should have stayed on) rose into the air, and we both slid down into the icy water below.
The section of Annsville creek where we were isn’t a very large body of water, so it didn’t take too long to make our way back onto the bank and pull ourselves out. We stood there, icy water dripping from our parkas and a bit in shock. Our sister was very disappointed to say the least and we all made our way through the woods back to the house.
It was a cold day, but the sun was shining – which contributed to our last bad decision of the day. When we got to the house, we thought that if we stood on the patio with the sun shining down upon us, that we would dry off and Mom wouldn’t even know how silly we had been earlier that day. Of course, trying to air dry when it’s 20 degrees and you’ve just taken a bath in the creek with all of your clothes on isn’t the best idea. Eventually, our Mom came outside and saw us standing there, trembling.
I don’t remember if we actually got into trouble that day. Perhaps the whole incident was so immature that our mother pitied us. Maybe she was just grateful that we didn’t have hypothermia. I don’t remember much after that point. But I will never forget the iceberg incident.