One-Yard Wonders projects

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

This Is Iowa: Swimming at the Farm

Hands down, my best childhood memories were of swimming at the pond with my siblings and cousins. We worked pretty hard and a trip to Great Uncle Gerald's pond was the ultimate reward. My brother Troy and I ran barefoot across the gravel driveway and road, raced down the hill and barreled across the rickety wooden dock -- racing to be the first one into the water.

My sister Heidi and youngest brother Bandy took their time getting into the water. Bandy would sit on the edge, dipping first a toe, then a foot, and then most of a leg, getting used to the water temperature before committing to getting in.

Gerald and Great Aunt Ermadale kept all sizes of inner tubes in their shed for swimmers. Sometimes we all piled onto a big one and rocked it back and forth. Other times we'd each get a smaller sized one and rest our legs and heads across it with our butts submerged in the water, just floating and talking and letting the breeze blow us to the north end of the pond where we were sure the snapping turtles and giant catfish lived. We'd paddle like the devil was after us to get back to the center of the pond where it was "safe."

What I never really appreciated back then were the patient adults who took time out of busy schedules to sit at the pond and watch us. For us it was the ultimate summer entertainment, but for them I'm sure it got boring after awhile. So thank you Grandma Betty and Aunt Cindy and Mom and Grandpa Keith and Dad and Gerald and Ermadale who all sat on the dock many, many times making sure none of us drowned. Often, we'd be swimming and Dad or Grandpa would pass by on a tractor or in one of the pickups. Once in awhile, Dad would stop and jump in with us, wearing his cutoffs. Those were the best times!

We don't swim in the pond anymore. But my parents installed a pool at their farm that has become the 21st version of Gerald's pond. My children LOVE the pool. They love spending lazy summer days swimming with their cousins and being crazy and carefree. There's something about swimming that is so empowering and wonderful and exhilarating, especially when you're a kid.

So today's post is a tribute to summer swimming on farms -- whether in ponds or pools they're the greatest place to take a dip and cool off.

Bo chillin' in the wading pool.

Funny-face Mazy

Miss Violet, me and Mazy -- baby girl LOVES the water

Barefoot and racing to the pool!

Kael jumps into the pool amid cheers from the crowd.

Kael and Miss Violet

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