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Hill Country Living

Another Summer Marks The Annual ‘We Need A Public Pool’ Column


Well, it’s that time of year again. ‘Tis the season to write my annual “We Need A Public Pool” column. The writing of this column really kind of marks the beginning of the summer season for me. There is winter, spring, “sorry, kids, there’s no where to go swimming,” and then fall. I am tired of saying that line on repeat until the leaves turn orange and fall from the trees. I want my summer back. 

My two children and my best friend, Megan Patton of Panola Street, take the issue of needing a public pool upon themselves every year with a fierce devotion. Megan’s daughter, Hazel, is old enough to formulate the thought into coherent, impassioned sentences then I’m sure she will carry on the tradition of making their incredibly valid point: it is well past time we all get to swimming. 

So, for better or worse, I am totally surrounded by people obsessed with swimming. It got me thinking that if I have this many people in my own little life who want to swim then maybe there are others out there who also want to swim. Possibly hundreds of others. Could this be true? A whole town of people who get hot when it’s 100 degrees and need somewhere to go deal with that? Am I…not alone?

Some of you all might say, “Well, if you want to swim so bad then you should find somewhere to go swimming. It’s not my problem.”

 If you are one of those people then, wow, you are not nice to kids. So, I’m not going to worry about you. But there are real reasons it’s hard to go swimming. Like most everyone else on earth, I don’t have time to drive out to Enid after work everyday. And mainly I don’t have time to kiss up to a Country Club friend everyday in the hope that she’ll remember my boys on guest day. Do you know what kind of commitment that takes without an ensured return? It’s just not sustainable.

But really I don’t think there are many people who, at this point, would object to a public pool. We understand now that we can, and should, all swim together. I think it’s a matter of logistics and just sitting down and seriously doing it. I mean, it’s not impossible – it’s very possible. There are probably step-by-step how-to plans out there for cities to use. Every other town has one. We had one before! 

While I think an actual pool would be wonderful for several reasons (namely as a matter of public safety as our town’s children will learn to swim and secondly as another sports facility,) I  hear a lot of good things about a splash pad. Lots of towns have been putting these up, including my own hometown, and they are pretty cool. Both literally and figuratively.

I am sure that our new Board of Aldermen will take this issue up soon. This is the hope that having a few new people bring to the table. We also have some civic organizations here that are extremely devoted to the betterment of Water Valley and if one (or more) of those organizations took it upon themselves to get a public pool going then they would be considered, without much exaggeration, town heroes. There is not a single Water Valley child (and, in turn, parent) who would not love your club. 

I envision a very near future in Water Valley where little Hazel can suit up and jump in a swimming pool with her classmates while parents and grandparents watch from their chairs, remembering the old concreted-in pool and thanking goodness for better days. I also envision a future where my boys are on a swim team called the Water Valley Crappies. 

So, if you are a civic organization then talk to some citizens who you know are movers and shakers and all y’all team up with the city and the sports complex and let’s finally get this done. Many of my friends are ready to throw a fundraiser themselves for a pool, so there will be a very large group of regular ol’ citizens who are all ready to help get it going.

I say this every year, but maybe this is the last year I have to write my “We Need A Public Pool” column.  But I’m really feeling it this time!  This could be the one!

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