Yesterday Andy and I did a "test skate" on Round Lake. We knew our ice rink was safe and thick--the rest of the lake looked like a polished black mirror. So we put on life jackets and brought out the auger and headed out. We knew the spot near the middle that was open water about 10 days ago, so we eventually drilled there. The ice was 3 inches thick out there, which is not safe according to the DNR. It was enough to hold Andy and me and Denali the dog as we peered in the hole, but not safe enough to send our kids out---- So Andy and I skated around the entire shoreline---beautiful. And when the kids and their overnight friends came home, we set some boundaries---where we knew the ice was at least 4 inches thick. Still they had a huge romping time on the clear black ice. When we were coming inside, our 3rd grade friend Will said his face felt wet.....apparently the cold fun enabled him to ignore the gash on his chin. Upon further examination, we realized that he would probably need stitches. Will never lost his sense of humor as he said goodbye to the other kids: "I'm gone with the wound." While it is a long way from Tuscarora to the Emergency Room, when we got there Dr. Nancy was waiting for us, Will had 3 stitches and we were home within 3 hours of leaving. Will was a trooper, and I was glad for such personalized service -and thankful that we live in a place where people know me, and Will, and even that his parents were in Duluth for his dad's knee surgery. That makes for one smooth friendly mini-emergency. The kids are hoping that today's rain won't ruin the black icy playground!