Joey’s Victory

Ross Anslow said glowingly to his wife, “Ann, our three sons will make fine farmers. I’ll buy more land for Sam and Joey. And when Bob is old enough, he’ll have his share too.”

Sam and Bob smiled happily, but Joey said quickly, “No thanks, Dad, none for me. I’m going to be an ice skater.”

Bob snickered. “A skater!” he hooted. “You don’t even have a pair of skates!”

Sam laughed too. “What’s wrong with you, Joey? Why would you want to spend your time twirling around on the ice like a top, when Dad’ll buy you land to work?”

Joey answered his brother, “I don’t want land to work. I want to skate on the ice in a fancy costume and have crowds cheering for me.”

“Just because you went with your school to see an ice show,” his dad said irritably, “doesn’t mean that you’re going to make a career of ice-skating. You’ll get over it.”

Joey’s mom wasn’t so sure their son would get over it.

“Joey is different,” she cautioned her husband later that evening when the boys had gone to bed. “It could be that farming isn’t for him.”

“Certainly he’ll be a farmer,” Joey’s dad continued stubbornly, “after he gets this silly notion out of his head. I’ll let him grow a calf for the boy’s club. Then maybe he’ll show more interest in farming.”

That night Joey dreamed that the sun was hidden by a heavy mist and that he was running through it. Always ahead of him, just out of reach, moved a pair of glistening silver skates.

Joey thought about his odd dream all the next day. Will it always be like this for me? he wondered. Will I never get a chance to wear those silver skates?

When his dad told him he could have Nellie’s calf, Joey was pleased. He supposed it would be interesting to watch it grow, but he didn’t dance for joy like his brothers would have.

Joey began to daydream about the skates gleaming in the fog—leaping, twisting, bounding along just out of reach. He next imagined that he was clad in a sparkling costume and white boots with shimmering silver blades attached to them. Joey signed. Maybe it was best to forget his dream.

One cold winter morning Joey’s mother asked him to take a loaf of freshly baked bread to some new neighbors. To his delight Joey found that they had a girl his own age. She had sparkling brown eyes and dark hair. Her name was Sabrina.

Sabrina’s parents were pleased to find that they had friendly neighbors, and asked Joey to stay for lunch. When they were through, Joey and Sabrina talked about sports, and Joey found himself telling her about his longing to become a professional ice skater someday. Then with a rueful smile he admitted, “I don’t own any skates. I’ve never even had any on. But I always dream about skating.”

Sabrina’s eyes sparkled. “I’ve something to show you,” she said, disappearing into another room. When she returned, Sabrina was holding up a pair of shining silver skates exactly like those in Joey’s dream!

“They’re my dad’s,” Sabrina explained. “He used to be a professional skater. He’s Don Carber—have you ever heard of him?”

Joey was excited. “Wow! He’s your dad? I’ve read about him!”

Sabrina nodded. “Would you like to see his scrap-books?”

“Would I!” was all Joey could manage to reply.

While they were going through the books, Joey imagined that he was Don Carber—leaping, spinning, and waving to the enthusiastic crowds.

Before Joey left, he told Sabrina, “I’m going to wear silver skates, too, someday. I want to be like your dad was—a star on ice.”

Sabrina smiled. “I know you’ll be a star, Joey, and I’ll help you.”

That night Joey summoned up the courage to ask his dad for a pair of skates.

Joey’s dad was unbending. “You’ll have to forget this nonsense, Joey,” he said. “No son of mine is going to waste his life scooting about on the ice.”

Joey persisted. “If I keep up with my chores and schoolwork, then earn the money for skates, may I sweep the snow off the pond out in the pasture and try to skate on it?”

His dad was going to say no at first, but then he thought that Joey might come to his senses and forget about ice-skating after a few falls on the ice. So he replied, “Go ahead, Son, but remember—chores and schoolwork first.”

“Yes, Dad.”

“Don’t expect me to pay for lessons either; you do this on your own.”

The boy nodded. He decided not to mention that he was being encouraged by Sabrina and her father.

Joey worried about a job to earn the money for skates. If it had been summer, he’d have had longer evenings. But now the days were so short that by the time he finished his chores, he didn’t have time for a lengthy job. Joey asked his neighbors about a job, but any available work either took too long or was too heavy for him.

Then Joey remembered that he hadn’t asked Bill Jones about a job.

Luckily for Joey, Mr. Jones said that he could use some help during the evenings. And when Joey had earned enough money, Mr. Carber offered to help him choose the right skates to learn on.

His brothers teased Joey when they saw him with his skates. “We’ll likely be watching you on TV tomorrow,” they joked.

Joey smiled and answered good-naturedly, “Not tomorrow, but maybe someday.”

Dad remarked, “I could understand getting excited about playing hockey or skiing—but figure skating!”

Mom smiled and said, “They’re lovely skates, Joey.”

At first Joey was awkward, and he fell a lot. But whenever he became discouraged, Sabrina was usually there, skating with him and encouraging him.

Mr. Carber sometimes came to watch and to coach. He was amazed at how quickly Joey learned. Figure-skating movements seemed to come to the boy naturally.

With a broom and shovel kept close by to clear the ice of snow, Joey spent every available moment on the pond. Early mornings and late afternoons he practiced the motions suggested by Mr. Carber. Joey’s family took neither the time nor the interest to watch him.

Once, when she saw him hurrying out of the house with his skates slung over his back. Mom called to him, “Don’t try to learn everything in one season. You have years ahead of you.”

Joey answered, “No, Mom, I haven’t. I was late starting.”

His mom sighed. With Dad against the boy’s skating, and his brothers always teasing, things weren’t easy for Joey.

One Saturday afternoon Joey was busy sweeping the pond when he saw the tall figure of Don Carber striding between the snow-laden cedars. Mr. Carber took the broom from Joey and said, “You won’t be needing this today. You’re going to have a chance to try some better ice. I have business in town, so if it’s all right with your folks, I’ll drop you and Sabrina off at the rink for the afternoon.”

Joey felt so happy he nearly shouted for joy as he ran home. Rink ice for the first time!

When Mr. Carber finished his business, he went back to the rink to watch the children going through the movements he had taught them on the pond. He thought Sabrina was good, but Joey had a special talent. If only his parents could see him skating …

The remainder of the winter Don Carber took Joey and Sabrina to the rink often. Sometimes he skated with them, and Joey eagerly copied his movements.

In the spring a notice was posted in town announcing that an amateur skating contest would be held.

Before the contest Don Carber went to the Anslow farm to talk with Joey’s parents. He invited them to come and watch the competition.

Joey’s dad sputtered, “Really couldn’t. Chores, you know. Lambing time. Then there’s—”

His wife interrupted. “We’ll be there, Mr. Carber,” she stated firmly.

“Good!” Don Carber said happily. “And let’s surprise him.”

But it was Joey’s family who were surprised. When Sam and Bob saw their brother swoop down the ice, they were truly astonished.

Even before Joey won a prize, everyone at the rink knew that his sharp routine was the best one seen during the competition.

As the crowd cheered, Ross Anslow smiled proudly at his son.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Scott Greer