Daddy loves us so much that he always made sure we had fun things to do outside. He put up a swingset, or 3. He built a sandbox, or four. And each summer, he’d put out a swimming pool for us.
When we were very little, it was a plastic, put anywhere and fill with water do-dad. When we were older and moved into the new house, it was maintaining the in-ground swimming pool that came with the house. That was a lot of work. But the ones I remember most fondly were the couple of small above-ground pools he put in the backyard at the old house.
He had to start by clearing out a perfect circle in the grass, leveling it and laying a base of sand. - I just put all the super hard work in one sentence like it could be done in a day. – Then he’d unfold the crazy, floppy, vinyl pool side and he and Mommy would fight with whatever other parts went with it to get it into a circle shape on that flat, sandy base. I think the only easy part was filling it with water once it was up.
I loved that part. I loved splashing in the first rush to come out of the hose. The water would feel so nice and warm, heated from the sun. It would quickly turn cold and the full pool, on it’s first day open, was often quite chilly. It would warm as the summer went on, well theoretically. Alfred and I splashed so much, the pool needed to be topped off frequently.
We had so much fun playing in those little pools. Daddy taught us how to make whirlpools. How to get the water going round and round where we could lift up our feet and be carried away by the currents. He taught us how to float and how to dive for things that sank – or at least reach down and pick them up.
My favorite part of the pool was when Daddy would come for a swim. Or rather, a sit. He’d take up almost the whole pool! Stretched out across the middle like a diameter line, a barricade of Daddy down the middle. He’d relax with a large cup of ice tea and a newspaper while Alfred and I would use him as a shield in splash fights or something to jump over. And by “relax,” I mean sit there until it was impossible to read or sit or do anything other than get wet and go deaf from squealing girls.
We were so lucky.