By Grant McGee: Local Columnist
As the end of summer approaches, I’ve been thinking about how nice it was to have a swimming pool this year.
Thanks to modern design, a number of us in Clovis have our own swimming pools. For somewhere between $100 and $200 you can get one of these plastic contraptions that are anywhere from 12 to 18 feet across and as much as 3 1/2 feet deep. To keep microscopic critters and algae from growing in the thing you spend a little more money on chemicals and filters. Then you get to play “pool boy” by skimming and vacuuming the thing.
I did not develop a pool boy physique, however.
I was skeptical at first about having the pool, after all I was born sleepy and hungry and a pool meant more work around the house. It’s been worth it, though. After a hot summer day, just slinking into the cool water is a joy.
I remembered that staying cool in the summertime has always been kind of a preoccupation of mine. Actually I’ve always wanted a back-yard pool.
It started when I was a little boy. There’s a picture of me sitting in a tub in my grandmother’s back yard. Not long after that picture was taken, I dug a big hole in the back yard and filled it with water. This was while my grandmother was relaxing in front of the TV, smoking a Raleigh cigarette and watching her soaps.
By the time she saw what I had done I had made my “pool” into a fine mud hole with most of the mud all over me. She yelled at me in a voice I hadn’t heard before. I’d say it was the tone you use at the family dog after it’s eaten the Thanksgiving turkey.
Growing up there were public pools to jump in on a hot summer day, along with state parks, rivers and creeks. One of my favorite summertime things was to go tubing: Take a big truck tire inner tube and go drifting down a river, maybe with a cooler stuck inside another inner tube and tied to mine so as not to lose the valuable cargo.
As time went on I’d shy away from public pools as they seemed to be dens of suntan oil, puffed up bravado and giggling kids hunkered down in the corner of the pool.
They were giggling and hunkered down in the corner because they were adding some liquid of their own to the pool water. I recognized this because I had done this myself as a kid.
Then I had kids of my own, with their inflatable pool. After they’d gone inside I’d lower myself in and splash water over myself, kind of like a beached whale. The kids (and the wife) were not amused.
Over the years I’ve known a few folks who’ve had their own in-ground pools. The one my brother has is a well maintained piece of work. The water is crystal clear, and even though he said it had chlorine in it, I couldn’t tell. To keep it clean there’s this device that looks like a giant worm that’s hooked to the side. It stays in constant motion. If you’re not careful it’ll eat your shorts.
I thought it’d be years in the future before I could afford my own pool. Modern plastics and the Chinese changed that.
At the end of a long hot day it sure is nice floating in my own back-yard pool.
Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org