By: Robert Bishop
I pass by the town swimming pool almost every day as i go about the important business of “running my traps.”
The thing that strikes me now is how few people swim as compared to a few years ago. It is just as hot now and folks need to cool off just as badly. The difference is that the pool is no longer the mecca for teenagers to be able to meet and mingle with their friends. On a hot afternoon, you always knew where the gang was. Same way with the smaller ones as well as some adults. The kiddie pool was always full.
Many families now have their own pool. Or they swim at a friend’s house. Then there’s the automobile. Some people won’t get out of their air conditioned cars long enough to swim. Also, if folks want to cool off, they go inside and plop down and let the recycled air do the job.
As children we all learned to swim in the rivers and creeks that we knew. Swimming pools were things that you saw in the movies. But, learn we did, and most learned very well. Many times, Randy and I laughed about how, at one of the holiday picnics that our families attended, we kids would beg to go swimming. Our parents were reluctant to let us go but relented when the older guys said they would keep an eye on us. Our parents, as were others, were surprised to see their kids kicking and swimming like ducks. It was apparent that someone had been slipping off to the old swimming hole.
The old “Fligger Hole’ remains dear to all our hearts. It is where we learned to swim. It is also a revered place in our memories for the wonderful, lazy, hazy days of summer that are so much a part of the lives of small town kids. Swimming, diving and then resting in the warm sands of the natural beach helped make many of the problems of the world seem very distant.
“Progress” ruined the old Fligger Hole. Someone got the bright idea to build a road around the cliffs. In the process, they dynamited the highest point which was above where the Board office is now located. The natural ledges from which we had dived a million times were covered with rock and dirt.
The beautiful blue-green waters of modern swimming pools certainly are inviting these hot days. But, for those of us who earned their fins in their favorite childhood swimmin’ hole, nothing can replace the allure of a gently flowing stream, maybe with a few leaves floating by.
That’s what summer meant to us when we were passing the time and contemplating our futures as we basked in the warm sun as we were growing up.