April 18, 2016

The Swimming Hole

The buds were just poking their heads out to see if the coast was clear and the leaves could follow shortly. Mother nature was hard to fool.  If the leaves and the spring wildflowers stuck their heads out too early they would pay the ultimate price.

Then spring rain greened up the grass a little.  The smells of spring were abundant and inviting to the young boys and girls of spring.

It was a yearly thing that all the kids from the block did.  We would caravan to the swimming hole. Most times we had a couple new victims to play the yearly prank on.  The older kids always set up the young ones.

 It was 52 degrees outside but the water temperature was 38 due to the overnight temperatures. It took 40 minutes by bicycle for the crew from Gays Mills to get to the swimming hole.  There were hills and it was a long trip on my new yellow bike with the banana seat and butterfly handle bars. I really worked up a sweat.  All of us were ready for a swim.

We fake argued about who was going to be the first one to use the rope and swing out and christen the hole for the new year.  Every year we put on a performance for the young kids.  We had already decided before we left who was going to use the swing first.  I remembered very vividly my first swing out there with anticipation back when I was the voted first one

We all watched as the new kid on the block swang out there with pride and with the feeling of being the first to break the surface of the swimming hole.

It was exactly same as my first swing three years before.  Everyone was watching and waiting for it.  No one told the newbies that the water was barely above freezing and their triumphant swing would end with them shivering and being unable to speak.  The gallery laughed until they almost cried at the young swing master as they scurried out of the hole.  Their lips were typically purple and they were shivering uncontrollably.  It was great!!!

The summer meant many trips to the swimming hole and we wore out many ropes through the years.  The climbing to the top of the tree to tie the new ropes was not my favorite thing to do. We didn't worry about mosquitoes or deer ticks back then.  The worst thing that ever happened back then was sunburn and the first swing hypothermia.

Children these days are raised in sterile environments.  The ride to the swimming hole would not happen due to its distance from mom and dad.  The rope would chafe their hands and burn because their hands were typically used on hand held games and Iphones.  I have not seen any kids swinging on that rope for a decade.  It truly is a shame.

3 comments:

  1. It's certainly not like the good old days, is it? The old swimming hole is one of my best childhood memories...

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  2. Yes, every neighborhood, block or section (country) had a swimming hole. We had ours too. Though it was not spring fed and we didn't have enough 'new blood' feeding into the group to have an annual induction. But we had fun. So unfortunate that kids today are being short-changed of some of life's most enduring memories. Thanks for the 'revisit'. Nice bit of story! Kudos!! ";)

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  3. Up on the meadow, I took a big swing out, and the branch broke. Darn.
    We still had a great time.

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