Hill Country Living

Public Pool Provides Real Summer Magic

By Coulter Fussell


I’m writing this column on the Summer Solstice, June 21st, the longest day of the year. I used to love this day as a child. I would get up at daybreak with big plans to relish every millisecond of daylight.
This included your typical summer activities of tree climbing, knee skinning, bossing younger children until they cried, getting chased by dogs, playing made up games with neighborhood kids that had disputed rules and convoluted alliances, my brothers and I polishing off an entire 24 pack of popsicles in 12 hours and subsequently getting in trouble for throwing the sticks all over the yard, and catching lightening bugs in old pickle jars until the sun finally set being the pines. And only admitting defeat when there was nothing but a pile of lifeless lightning bugs in the twilight, dead via dill pickle fumes. Oh, that summer magic.
Now, as an adult, the Summer Solstice just means we get an extra few milliseconds of stifling heat, humidity, and happy hour before the year officially tips to the other side. Yes, the thrill is gone.
Although my childhood summers were mainly bike riding and desperately bare-footing it across scorching asphalt like a pained cheetah in an effort to keep up with my mom who was beelining it for the grocery store entrance, I did occasionally go to a swimming pool. There was a pool in our neighborhood where anyone could have a summer membership. And we were members for three months of the year. It was glorious. And cool. In both senses of the word.
I’ve gone to Yalobusha Country Club pool several times and it’s really great. I’m not a member there (I’m not really all that golf-y) but my kids get invited to enough birthday parties and guest swim days there that they are convinced they are members and don’t understand why we don’t just go whenever we want.
Which brings me to this: Water Valley needs a public pool. It’s HOT out there and my kids want to go swimming. I can’t be the only one with kids who want to go swimming. I want my kids and all the other kids of Water Valley who want to go swimming to be able to go swimming.  
There are some great reasons to have a public pool. For starters, it makes people happy. It also promotes exercise and the entrance fee/concessions would make money while teenagers could be trained and hired as lifeguards. And swim lessons!
I know there are also some good, legitimate reasons not to have a public pool: money, safety concerns, etc. But there are also some arguments against having a public pool that are asinine and outdated. We’ve heard those type reasons all our lives and I’m not interested in those reasons.
So, in my Imaginary-Dream-Water-Valley-of-the-Very-Near-Future, our public pool is set up in the old baseball field at the entrance to Crawford Sports Complex. Sonic would love this.
And watching my kids laugh and swim with their classmates until the last lightening bug breathes his last little dill pickle flavored breath in those last few milliseconds of the longest day of the year? And all of our kids feeling like members not just of a pool but of our whole town, together?             While I’m sitting there sipping on a Sonic-size Diet Cherry Limeade? Now, there’s that summer magic.

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