It happened a dozen years ago on an exceptionally warm spring afternoon, so warm, in fact, that I donned my swimming shorts and went about readying the dock for installation as soon as the ice went out. The ice in fact was already moving, propelled by a west wind, and by midafternoon the ice sheet had cleared my shore and the west half of the lake was open.
Temptation moved me to launch my old wooden boat, put on a motor, and go for a joy ride with our puppy, Maggie. I toured the shoreline, and waved occasional greetings here and there to friends I hadn't seen during the winter months. It was exhilarating to be skimming again over the open water.
The circumnavigation ended along the opposite shore when I reached the still retreating ice sheet, so I headed across the lake for home, keeping a respectful distance from the ice field and a sharp lookout for any stray icebergs. The hilarious voyage was interrupted abruptly when I noticed that Maggie was no longer aboard. Gazing astern, I could see her little head bobbing in the waves, so I swung around and returned on a rescue mission.
Then things happened with remarkable suddenness. I was on the ice sheet sliding at full speed. The boat slid and sli.i.i.id and kept right on sliding, finally coasting to a standstill in a vast nowhere, far from any open water. It was like a bad dream. I muttered to myself, "How in the (expletive deleted) did I get HERE? This is ridiculous. No one will ever believe anything this stupid! Now how do I get home?" Upon disembarkation I found the footage chilly and slippery. I pushed and pushed toward some faraway open water, with an occasional dunking at numerous soft spots. To make a dumb story short, eventually I relaunched the boat off the edge of the ice sheet, retrieved one soaked and frigid puppy, and then shivering and with teeth chattering, steered a bee-line for home and a hot shower.
So, in case you did witness someone nearly naked running around barefoot on the ice a mile from shore, now you know the wherefore of another odd-ball occurrence on Ten mile Lake.