I went to bed last night with a headache. The headache began sometime around 2 pm yesterday, and by 9 pm it was in full swing. I took two Tylenol PM and fell asleep with the dim cackling of Gwyneth Paltrow emanating from the television (not my programming decision). I then dreamed many great dreams. First I was walking Vince Vaughn through a lakefront estate on Geneva, trying my best to be funny, and trying even harder to convince him that this was indeed the house. Vince was very tall. There was a party going on at the house. The owner, who wasn’t the owner in real life, was shouting orders to the crowd in English, then spoke Russian in hushed tones to whoever was on the other end of his phone. I walked with Vince down to the lake. There was a pier there, and I pointed out that the one slip was perfect for novice boaters. I felt like I shouldn’t have said that. Who was I to assume that he was a novice? A school of silver minnows road the waves in the shallows. I told him that those minnows would be great for fishing. I knew I shouldn’t have said that either.
We walked to the pool, where dozens of party patrons were mingling. Some were swimming. It was night now. I had a beach ball in my hand, and I threw it at a girl who was sitting under a pergola that hadn’t yet been finished. I knew the girl from high school, but even after I threw the ball at her, I couldn’t tell if she was happy about it. Vince didn’t seem to notice. We walked the property some more. Vince was gone. Then I was witnessing the unveil of a 1956 Chevy Bel Air that Chip Foos had just restored for my father. I was excited, but more nervous. When the curtain was drawn, the coupe had been turned into a pick up truck. The paint looked to have been applied with a broom, and the engine had been replaced with a rusty model that Chip assured me had been from a Cadillac. I was frantic. My father, whose car had just been butchered and converted into some form of Bel Air pickup, was not as upset as I was. I remember being surprised by his calm reaction.
And when this morning came, and I awoke with the remnants of a pounding headache, I dreamed a real dream. I dream so vivid and bright that it would make every other dream ever dreamed before seem childish and unimportant. I have a dream this morning, and that dream is to see my lake delivered from its icy shroud. My Sunday headache stemmed from a near elbow-shattering fall that I endured yesterday afternoon. My own clumsiness was not to blame. My shoes were not untied. Instead, I fell on the ice. Remember all that ice fishing talk last week? I take it all back. In one swift movement my ice fishing optimism turned to ice fishing hatred, as my left foot pushed through the top layer of snow, then through a layer of slush, then through a coating of water before it came to it’s momentary resting place on the smooth ice. I was on my back before Thomas had a chance to start laughing. Which he did. I clutched my elbow in the way that you clutch something that you know is hurt, but you’re not yet sure how badly. My back hurt too. I was wet. What kind of store sells un-waterproof snowpants?
In that slippery instant, I had no further interest in icefishing. I cursed the ice. I cursed the wind. I cursed my snow pants. In that moment, my winter ended. Winter died yesterday, at roughly 2:20 pm. It is survived by me, though barely. I have attempted to find value in winter, and I’ve even played the unwitting promoter of a winter so snowy and cold that only Algore could love it. Yesterday, my passive aggressive attitude towards winter changed into a full on frontal attack. I will now no longer tolerate winter, nor will I celebrate it. I will now wish for it to end, and dream of a day when I have no opportunity to walk on my frozen lake. I want to boat on it and swim in it. I want to fish with regular sized fishing poles and throw away my dull auger forever. To quote the words of a creep that I had the displeasure of ever hearing speak: Winter, you’re about to find out who I really am.
But for all of my acerbic rage, there is hope. The very snow that made our winter long and our souls cold will play a very vital role in freeing us from the icy grip that has painted our lovely blue lake white, and held our summer born hopes and dreams captive for far too long. You see, the snow that covers the ice that covers Geneva’s crystal clear waters is heavy. Very heavy. Like so heavy that guys on that show Heavy blush at its tonnage. The snow isn’t resting quietly, it’s pushing the ice layer into the water, steadily and swiftly, and it’s doing more to deteriorate the condition and quality of the ice than any 40 degree day ever could. What happens when you combine a heavy layer of snow and slush with a week that is projected to top out at 50 degrees? Ice’s worst nightmare, that’s what.
With that, I offer up another contest to you, my cherished, mostly anonymous readers. The ice will be gone soon, and I plan on standing on the shore hurling slurs and insults at it like a modern day Val Kilmer in a much more serious version of Tombstone. You’re no daisy at all! The tricky thing is to figure out when indeed the ice will lose it’s grip and melt into the very waves that we’ll boat over and swim through this summer. For the purpose of this contest, the lake will be deemed free of ice when the last chunks of it lap the northern shoreline of Williams Bay. A stiff south wind and a small patch of open water will do the trick, just as soon as the warmth of this week wreaks havoc on the quality of the ice and unmercifully pushes the sheet further and further into the deep. Send me an email with your guess as to which day this joyous event will take place, and if you’re correct, you’ll win one of these fabulous Lake Geneva antique boat show prints. As a historical tip, ice out usually doesn’t occur until late March. As another tip, I don’t think the ice will last anywhere near that long this year. Winter, you are dead to me. Mr. Vaughn, I still think that home from last night fits your needs perfectly.