Whitesburg KY
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Thinking about the old swimming hole




Now don’t that knock you in the creek. I done and went and got to thinking again.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am plumb quare when I get kicked into the thinking mode. I am apt to come up with almost anything. Sometimes I get on a few sore toes and sometimes I get a pat on the back. So the way I see it, the score is about even. Besides, a few sore toes need to be stepped on now and then.

The first thing on my mind is the old swimming hole of long ago. You know, the one with a big willow or sycamore tree that spread its limbs not so gracefully out over the water. You could either do a swan dive from a limb or swing out over the water on a big rope and do a cannonball or you could just have someone hold a old inner tube and let you try to drive through it.

The one thing I never could figger out was how to go through the tube without getting branded by the valve stem which always seemed to be in the wrong place. It didn’t hurt quite so bad if we had some friction tape to wrap around the tube and the valve stem, bending it sideways a notch or two.

There is no way I would go swimming in the river now voluntarily. But then again things are a far cry from what they once were. It’s a wonder we didn’t get our noggins cracked sometimes, the water was so shallow. But we made our own recreation.

One pretty good trick was to turn a cigarette backward in our mouths, you know, with the fire or lit end inside the mouth, and hold it with our teeth. At that age most of us still had teeth. The idea was to dive out of a tree with the cigarette still lit when we surfaced, and to not get our tongues blistered doing it. In all honesty, it failed more times than it worked but boys will be boys and boys will try about anything at least once.

Sometimes a big water snake would invade the old swimming hole and some – if not all – of the swimmers would seem to be walking on the water as Jesus did to get out of the water. Some people are as scared of a harmless old water snake as they would be a rattler or copperhead. After seeing a snake in the water, all that was needed was for someone to holler “snake”. There would be a wild stampede for the shore.

Nobody should ever swim anywhere except in designated areas. We have a lot of those people called fishermen, so please remember that besides getting a hook or two in your torso, a length of 10-pound test fishing line can drown a swimmer if he or she gets tangled in it where the water is over the head. Now this may sound like a ridiculous thought, but think about it. How many swimmers do you know who carry a knife in their swimming attire? I would venture to say none, but that is what would be needed and would need to be used quickly.

So before you swim, think instead of playing Houdini.


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