Anybody still remember swimming holes? You know, those clear deep pools that showed up along the meandering banks of most creeks.
They were our secrets. All the guys knew about them, but we didn’t share the information with anyone else, especially our parents. They knew about them, of course, at least Dad did since he probably swam in them when he was a boy. But talk about the swimming hole was a language reserved for boys. Boys, no girls. And no swimsuits, either. Sure, there were swimming places where families went for Sunday picnics. They were great, but they weren’t swimming holes.
It worked like this. When the long heat-crackling days of June rolled around and school was a fading memory, you finished breakfast and charged out of the house to where your bike was propped up in front of the garage. Out on the street, a couple blocks away, you pulled up to a certain corner, stopped and waited. Within minutes the other guys showed up on their bikes.
After a few obligatory insults, everybody rode off for the swimming hole. If one destination had dried up or turned green, you headed for another. There was no discussion, you just knew.
After a day of blissful swimming, you rode back home in time for supper. No one asked where you’d been or what you’d been doing. The fact that you were home and unhurt was enough. And everyone seemed to understand that tomorrow you’d go out and do it again.
I checked out one of my favorite swimming holes a few years ago. Sadly, there was nothing left of it. Even the rope swing was gone. And all the boys in town were at the municipal pool.
Pools are great. But they’re not swimming holes, either.