The other day while we were exercising at the pool Strokeman noticed something that looked like a coin at the bottom. I managed to drag it up the side with my foot until I could reach it with my hand, and it was, indeed, a quarter. I put it on the side of the pool and we continued our walk around the dormant lazy river. Something about that coin brought to mind another pool at a different time in our life. We were newly married and living in the house that Strokeman had been occupying with his two young children. I asked Strokeman if he remembered those times, when we used to throw coins into the water for the kids to dive for. And he said yes. Then he recalled to me the way Hannah used to pretend to baptize people, “In the father and the spirit, and son, you’re baptized!” We had a good chuckle over it and then both lapsed into silence for a while.
I don’t know about him, but I continued to think about those younger days around the family pool. I remembered the rope hanging from the old mesquite tree that the kids would use to swing out over the water and drop. I remembered the birthday party where Caleb and all his friends took turns riding his bike into the pool (it was their father’s idea, I was scared to death we would end up having to call the paramedics). Then the summer Olympics inspired diving contests in which everyone always got the highest scores.
When Micah came along, he didn’t like the water much, and we have pictures of him in a red car-shaped floatie crying hysterically. He got used to it, slowly, and was finally brave enough one day at about 3 to make his way off the step in a failed attempt to swim. My friend and I were less than 5 feet away, supposedly watching, but mostly talking, when Caleb came flying out of the house and into the pool to retrieve Micah who was failing to find a way to get his head above water. Yay for big brothers!
Faith loved the water, and used to stand on the side and jump into my arms. She would tell me, “Let me go all the way to the bottom and then catch me on the way up!” She was also the one who was inadvertently knocked into the pool by our yellow lab as he walked past her near the edge. Strokeman jumped in to save her, cowboy boots and all. She didn’t even realize she needed to be saved.
There is another story about Faith that happened around the pool. It has to do with her daddy’s big thermal mug that was sitting on the side sweating as if it were full of nice icy water or sweet tea. She swam over and took a great big swig before she realized that what it really contained was a beer. Her response sent us all into gales of laughter, and she has had to endure the story at many a family gathering.
When David came along he was most remembered for his round head and white white skin. His siblings called him Casper, and he was the only person who showed no evidence of having been in the sun unless his swim suit rode a little low. Only then could you tell he had become a darker shade of white.
Oh the memories of the pool: There were all the friends who came and went throughout the years. The birthday parties, and church picnics. The poor creatures who wandered into it at night and met their demise. The neighbor’s dog who would make it to the step along the side, but not be able to figure out how to get the rest of the way out until his howling would bring one of us to help him. The years that the frogs would come in plague-like proportions and have to be scooped out with the net.
How thankful I am for these memories! It is no wonder that Strokeman begged for some kind of therapy that would allow him to be immersed in a pool. If there is only one thing to be thankful for in the termination of his formal therapy, it is that it drove us to the community pool. Both of us have benefited greatly from it, not the least of which is the memories that dance around us in the water. We have these moments to remember.