Ice Out

My friends from points south look at me like I’m crazed. ” Ice Out comin’ soon!” Huh? “Ice out!” The look I get is one of pure pity. Those crazed New Englanders…so depressed by their winter that they’ll seize on any slight sign of spring. OK, it is true that south of New England, they don’t get excited at tiny flowers in the brown woodlands. Their lush southern springs explode with green and colored blooms—they kind of smile condescendingly at our northern spring.
But that’s because they haven’t been to a full-tilt boogie Ice Out Party.
It is true. Here in New England, spring can be a bit dour. So we have to make up for it. What is an ice-out party? Lots of hard cider, local beer, friends and neighbors, and an icy pond where the ice has finally broken up.
Mind you, I said, broken up, not disappeared. After enough cider and beer, dancing, and food, some fool begins to strip and runs out to the pond. The proper technique is to holler at the top of your lungs and take the plunge. Once one is in the water the lemmings, I mean other party-goers, discard parkas, anoraks, and other winter accouterments and begin to frolic like polar bears. The rest of us stay warm by a fire and cheer them on. If this is done right, sometimes at about two AM, the local police or constabulary show up and disparage the public nudity and general rowdiness. The following day everyone feels braced for the last several lousy weeks of New England spring before things finally warm-up, and everyone can put away their heavy woolens and L.L.Bean jackets.
New England Spring – it ain’t for the faint of heart. And you thought Mardi Gras was wild!

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