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Friday, May 28, 2010

School's Out


During water aerobics yesterday, kids were running in and out asking the lifeguard when it would be their turn to swim. When the pool was finally turned over to the ungoverned youth , I realized school had been out for three hours and parents were already dumping their kids off on the YMCA. It's Summer at last.

When I think about it, I guess it was pretty much the same when we were kids. I know there were days when we didn't have to beg too hard for Mom to take us to the pool. I'm sure she enjoyed the time alone.

We used to swim at the American Legion pool, which was very large and indoors. I remember the chlorine was so strong, our eyes were red and burning. They must use different chemicals now. Anyway, the Legion, as we called it then, had the highest high diving board around. I always went off the low board until the day I was chided and humiliated into going up on the high. Everyone always said the rule was, if you climbed up the high board you couldn't climb back down. You had to jump off. Well, for some reason they let me use the ladder to get back down. I eventually made a couple of leaps off the high and it was as awful as I thought it would be. It took so long to reach the water, I had time to think about it. And I plunged deep enough, it took a while to make it back to the surface.
I was never much of a dare devil, but my brothers were. There was a rope that hung from the very tall ceiling of that pool and they, and other boys would swing from it, looking like they would surely miss the water. I don't think anyone ever died but my brother, Steve, ruptured an eardrum.
It was pretty exciting when the 16th street pool opened. Outdoors and not nearly so crowded, it only cost a quarter. Ivy, Joel, Steve and I had a lemonade stand. We sold lemonade everyday until we had enough quarters for all of us to swim, then we closed up shop and headed to the pool. We weren't exactly entrepreneurs.

West Texas in the Summer is hotter than Hades, but the water in the 16th street pool was always too cold to actually get in the pool. There were rumors they iced it down at night. I don't know how they got it that cold, but it was miserably frigid. Why we wanted to go there everyday, is lost somewhere in my memory. All we really accomplished was a great tan.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could all have the summer off to be a kid again? I'm just sayin...

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A wife, mother, and spoiler of small dogs, I grew up in a small West Texas town, with my eyes full of sand, and my heart full of joy.


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