Deep snow and cold nights, strangely, make Bob Labrie think of spring and melting ice.
It's precisely because we're in the midst of winter that Labrie, a Goshen firefighter and resident of Hammond Pond, is ready to kick off this year's Meltdown fundraiser.
The ice on Hammond Pond is thick enough to support both Labrie and the meltdown block - a pallet and concrete block contraption rigged to stop an alarm clock when it falls through the ice.
Labrie set the block out early this week, announcing to selectmen on Monday night that the fourth annual meltdown has now begun. Participants buy tickets and venture a guess as to the exact time and date the 69-pound block will fall through the ice.
Whoever comes closest - without going beyond the time - wins half of all proceeds from ticket sales. The other half this year will be used to light the veterans' flag and memorial in the center of town. Labrie is researching solar-power lighted flagpoles and jokingly says he plans to ask Gov. Deval Patrick whether recently announced rebates for green energy use would apply to such a venture.
Selectmen Monday night were unanimous in their support for Labrie's idea. "Thanks for thinking of the town and for doing the veterans' flag," said Selectmen's Chairman Joe Dunn.
More information on the meltdown can be found by going to www.goshenmafire.com and clicking on the Meltdown 2008 menu tab. Tickets are $1 each and can be printed off the Web site. Call 268-7110 for more information.
By the way, last year's block fell into the water at noon (and 11 seconds) on Saturday, April 21.