Archived Story

Testing the waters

Published 10:44am Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Summertime means water time for most people.

I’m no exception.

Whether it’s the lake or the pool, warmer weather means an opportunity to splash and swim to your heart’s content.

Memories of water fun populate much of what I remember from my childhood, and if you think back, I bet they are pretty prevalent for you too.

One of the first watery memories I have is of trips to the KOA pool as an elementary school student. Admission was like $2, and consequently the pool was almost always crowded. Still, those were some of the best days of summer. We often packed a lunch to take and stayed for hours, and one of the best parts was buying green Laffy Taffy from the pool concession stand.

Those trips to the pool pre-dated the years when we had a pool in our backyard. It was of the aboveground variety, probably only four feet deep, but wide enough to accommodate my brother and me and our friends.

My mom had an in-home daycare then, and the pool became our favorite spot for summertime fun.

I remember we could amuse ourselves by creating a nice current in the pool. Run around the edge a few times, pick your feet up and hold onto a noodle or other pool toy as the resulting current carried you around the perimeter a couple times.

I once stayed in the pool so long I got sick. But illness can’t color my memories of the fun we had.

We didn’t go to the lake when I was little, but we did visit Fall Creek Falls, a Tennessee State Park. Fall Creek afforded plenty of water opportunities.

We could wade at the base of one of the Cane Creek Cascades and even slide down one of the rocky-sloped walls into the water below. George Hole was the perfect option for swimming.

All in all, it was a watery paradise.

From swimming lessons at the YMCA to wading in the creek behind our house to swimming at tubing at on Center Hill Lake at Ragland Bottom, water and summer have always gone hand in hand for me.

And now that another Alabama summer is swiftly approaching, I’m ready to dive in and make some more water memories.

Will I finally try paddle boarding? Sneak a turn in the splash pad at Camp ASCCA? Make my debut at the city pool?

Who knows? But one thing is for sure: summer won’t be summer for me unless it’s watered down.

James is a community columnist for The Outlook.