It was a lovely winter day and I was skating on the pond at Elizabeth Park in West Hartford, Connecticut, with my friend, Kimberly.

We floated, we flew, we twirled and spun.

Kim was a dance student at the Hartford Conservatory; I, an English major at the University of Hartford.

We were in our early 20s, enjoying the sun, snow and fresh air when, out of the blue, two handsome young men appeared.

We had to show off.

Kim started sailing around the ice in circles like the elegant ballerina she was, looking like a swan in a ballet. I began skating backward, trying to appear ethereal and effortless, just as my skates struck a ridge in the ice.

I went airborne, tumbling, catapulting, arms flailing about. I reached down to catch myself with my left hand — my writing hand — when I felt my wrist whack the ice, the full weight of my body landing on it.

Uh-oh.

After recovering from having the wind knocked out of me, I managed to right myself and hobble to the shore, chagrined and deflated.

I showed my red, cold wrist to Kim and asked if she thought it was broken.

“Oh, no,” she declared. “You’d know right away if it was broken. Let’s go shopping.”

To which I acquiesced, reluctantly, as I was feeling a bit woozy.

We traipsed around Hartford and shopped, I with less enthusiasm than I would have under any other circumstance.

I finally went home, and in the evening, called my mother, a registered nurse, who asked all the right questions, not the least of which was: Did I have a bump forming on the outside of my wrist? Which I did.

She urged me to go to the hospital, though I waited until the next day, after the pain in my wrist had become too much to bear.

Sure enough, the doctor declared it broken, put a cast on it that stretched from knuckles to elbow and didn’t remove it until six weeks later.

Fast forward 40 years, to Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018.

My cellphone rings. It’s Kimberly, who lives in Concord, New Hampshire.

“Guess what I did today?” she asked. “I went for a walk, slipped on the ice and fractured my right wrist.”

Time for comeuppance.

“It’s not broken, Kim — you’d know if it was!”

We laughed, as over the many years we have known each other and visited back and forth, I have reminded her of her declaration the day I fell on Elizabeth Pond and she assured me I was OK.

Which is all to say I’ve been thinking a lot lately about slips and falls on ice and how debilitating that can be, such as the time I fell on my parents’ ice-covered driveway one evening in the 1990s and cracked my pelvic bone, but that’s another unfortunate tale.

Talk about pain. I was flat in bed for a week, two weeks getting around with crutches and then used a cane for what seemed an eternity. No fun.

Lately, there’s been a lot of ice on roads, sidewalks, parking lots, walkways and driveways. Those of us who like to fly out the door to get to where we’re going in a hurry should take heed.

Slipping on ice can happen so fast we don’t have time to think about it, let alone prevent it.

In minutes, we’re in the emergency room, cast up, crippled and worth nuthin’ to nobody.

So as the snow swirls about, turns to rain, freezes up and forms sheets of ice around us, we need to be mindful every minute: There’s a monster out there just waiting to whack us.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 31 years. Her column appears here Mondays. She may be reached at [email protected]. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to centralmaine.com.

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