What could be more summertime than an afternoon at the pool? Growing up in rural North Dakota, my brothers and I spent entire summers at our community pool. We would walk barefoot over the railroad tracks, past the grain elevator, past the Ford garage, and into the sparkling blue paradise of the Hatton pool.
After several hours of swimming, dunking, and diving, the draconian whistle-wielding teenagers would call the dreaded Break Time, and we would be forced to the concrete to first shiver then warm in the sun.
The lifeguards were kids too, of course, but we didn’t know that. They were the authority figures with zinc oxide noses, and had the power to kick kids out for the day (or the entire summer for particularly heinous offenses). I was never kicked out since I appeared to be a good kid, but you should know, O Reader, that I lit the fuses of my share of smoke bombs in those days.
Friendships were forged, girls were impressed, and time was wasted. The summer stretched out ahead of us like a prairie horizon, with school and its responsibilities barely visible in the distance. We would have to leave when the pool closed and go home for supper, but we would return for several hours in the evening and could look forward to swimming lessons the next morning.
Oh halcyon day of youth, where hast thou gone? Oh. Here you are. We get to do it again, only this time, I’m the authority figure; telling Baby Boots to kick kick kick, showing him how to blow bubbles, and dunking him when the lifeguards aren’t looking. I would hate to get kicked out for the summer.
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