I never think seriously about owning a swimming pool until deep summer. Jilda has wanted one since we married in 1974. Each summer she does a mock whine, “Why don’t we get a pool?” I always …
I never think seriously about owning a swimming pool until deep summer.
Jilda has wanted one since we married in 1974. Each summer she does a mock whine, “Why don’t we get a pool?”
I always thought pools were more trouble than they were worth. It was easy coming up with a litany of reasons why a pool was a bad idea. It will make our power bill skyrocket, they are hard to keep clean, they’re a pain to maintain in winter, and so on. But in late July when it’s hot enough to bake biscuits in the dash pocket of my truck, my resistance wilts.
I’m not sure why I’ve remained so resistant to the idea. Thinking back, I’ve always loved the water. I learned to swim during the summer between first- and second- grade. The Martin Hole was a wide spot in a gently flowing creek that ran through the heart of Sloss Hollow. The Martin family had lived nearby in the early 1900s.
Even today, when looking on Google Maps, you can see where the stream originates. It’s not coming from a lake or larger stream, but from deep within the earth under the canopy of oak, hickory, and pine, somewhere between Dora and old Highway 78.
The Martin Hole was about a half mile from my front porch. When it got too hot to run and rip outside, “the crew” would head to the swimming hole to cool off. I’ve never dipped a thermometer in that creek, but I’d be willing to venture it’s about 60 degrees year around.
Everyone went commando then, which meant we wore cutoff jeans and little else. We didn’t have to change into a swimsuit because we were wearing it.
The creek was about waist deep, and the bottom was covered in a layer of rocks worn smooth by eons of water flowing over them.
Moss-covered logs jutted out over the edge of the water on the far bank. They looked as if Mother Nature had upholstered them in green velvet. They were big enough to stand on, but I learned the hard way the creek was not deep enough for diving. I tried it one time, and I pulled gravel out of my scalp for days afterward. Every day’s a school day.
Edging the creek were ferns, honeysuckle, and a kind of vegetation that I cannot name. Dragonflies thrived in this environment. Once while floating on my back, a neon blue dragonfly lit on my nose and looked me in the eye for an instant before flitting off. In China, people associate the dragonfly with prosperity, harmony, and as a good luck charm. I chose to believe that this was true.
I spent a lot of time during the summers of my youth in that creek. It was a gurgling Dog Days oasis.
Fast forward to this week ...
While pulling the weeds from around our tomato and pepper plants yesterday, sweat soaked my T-shirt and dripped from the brim of my hat. Once back in the house, I fixed a tall glass of ice water and sat in front of the box fan.
I thought to myself, “Maybe it’s time to think about a swimming pool."
Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book, "Life Goes On," is available on Amazon.com. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.