Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ah, The Old Swimming Pool

I just came back from swimming, and as I was doing my laps I was musing on all the fun we had at the pool, as children. Summers are hot in Nebraska, and every self-respecting town had an outdoor pool. Ours was quite large. We had one three meter and two one meter diving boards in the deep end. I was a diver, so I spent many an afternoon climbing over and over to the top of that three meter board. I would stand up there and survey my little domain and feel content. If the sun was shining and the pool was open, all was right with my world.

We used to play goofy tricks on the other kids, too. My sisters were always thinking up crazy stunts. One of our favorites was having me lie on the bottom of the pool (where it was about three feet deep) and one of my younger sisters would stand on me and then ask the swimmers in the area if they would look under water and see what she was standing on (looking bewildered, as though she did not know it was me). I could hold my breath pretty long, so the other children would get quite agitated trying to explain to Mary or Martha that there was a person under there. When I couldn't hold my breath any longer, I would come up, and look sternly at whichever sister was in on the prank and say, "Cut it out, kid." and calmly swim off. We thought we were hilarious.

Another favorite was to start a conversation with a nine or ten year old boy and act as though we knew him. "We had so much fun at your house yesterday, Larry. Lets play kick ball again next time," or some variation on that theme. The reason it was so effective in confusing them was that we only did it to kids that had their name scrawled on their goggles or flippers, and so we could always use their real name.

And then there was the hot afternoon when we were at the side of the pool making little black balls from the soft tar between the pavement and throwing them surruptiously at one of the boys we knew that had a lisp. We wanted to hear him object and were rewarded with a phrase that became a family classic: "Thumoneths Thwowing Taw Ballths"

Childish, I know, but we WERE children.


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