THE GIRL IN ICE

A story of my father
  1. 1.
    When I was a kid my dad would take us on outings we called "forced family fun."
  2. 2.
    His idea of a good time was anything that was free.
  3. 3.
    He took us to the Georgia Welcome Center just over the line from Chattanooga for its grand opening. They were giving away peaches and Coca-Cola.
  4. 4.
    He took us to see the goat man.
  5. 5.
    He took us up the back side of Signal Mountain to see an old toothless black bear sow in a cage gumming an old tire.
  6. 6.
    When I was six or seven he took us to see the Girl in Ice.
  7. 7.
    It was out by Jubilee City, on the outskirts of town, where they have all the used car dealerships and mobile home sales lots.
  8. 8.
    It was in one of the mobile home sales lots.
  9. 9.
    There was one of those towable signs out front with the changeable plastic letters that said, "COME SEE THE GIRL IN ICE!"
  10. 10.
    There was a line.
  11. 11.
    I was sort of apprehensive as I stood in line waiting to go inside to see the Girl in Ice. Was she my age? Would she be dead? The whole thing kind of scared me.
  12. 12.
    When it was our turn to go in, we were ushered inside a manufactured building; there was a security guard at the entrance.
  13. 13.
    It was very cold inside, and to my right was a large stack of ice blocks. You had to walk by that and then turn to the right.
  14. 14.
    When I turned to the right, there was another wall of stacked ice blocks. It was obvious that these blocks were built into the corner of this manufactured structure.
  15. 15.
    In the wall of ice was a piece of plexiglass about 2 feet square.
  16. 16.
    You could look in the Plexiglas window, and see the Girl in Ice.
  17. 17.
    She was about 20, in a bathing suit and laying on her side on a beach towel with her head on one hand, propped up by an elbow. She was reading a magazine.
  18. 18.
    She looked bored.
  19. 19.
    This was not what I expected at all. I expected she would be *encased* in ice, even though I must've known on some level that that's not something they would let little kids go and look at.
  20. 20.
    There was another security guard at the exit.
  21. 21.
    He stopped my dad on the way out and said, sotto voce, "You might want to come back in about a half an hour."
  22. 22.
    "That's not the real Girl in Ice. She's just a stand-in. The real Girl in Ice is on her lunch break."