July 8, 2019
Being a person of mature youth status, I often revisit places in life that are of a simpler time and yes I try to impart that simplicity upon my children and grandchildren. Simple things are best.
The family that lives across the alley from us has an above ground pool, that we covet from our screened in porch. We don’t know them but we watch the show of cleaning the pool, arranging the chairs, watering the flowers and creating a haven in the backyard. A little hideaway that rarely sees use and that makes me want to scale the fence, fold back the cover and slide in the cool fresh water for just a second. I do it in my mind every day.
My entire family has taken to observing the “pool people” and the under use of the pool (in our observation) during a sweltering Midwest summer. The littlest member of our family peeked out the kitchen window (the viewing location of the most discreet peek) and said “Mommy, I want a big pool” to which mommy responded “where do we get one?” her instant 3 year old response? ” The big pool store of course” We all laughed but she would not be detoured. For days she would simply state ” I am getting a big pool”.
This entire infatuation with the big pool store was so unique and sweet. If only life was that simple. So of course it took me on a journey to our hot summers and the delicious feel of cold water on the skin for cooling off on a hot summer day of my childhood.
My parents didn’t have much money and we had 4 kids in our family so memberships at pools were not on our scope, nor visiting a public pool on a regular basis, that was a treat. So my parents did what they could.
This was probably my first introduction to Improvise, Adapt, Overcome, which has been my mantra for most of my adult life. We basically had a few inexpensive ways of cooling off, water balloon fights, a hosing, a small wading pool that you could sit in and cool off, squirt guns or my favorite the yellow sprinkler.
Mom had this yellow sprinkler that had three arms and it went in a circle. It was metal and the paint was chipping from years of use for it’s intended purpose.. watering the lawn. But when Mom would give in and hook up the sprinkler (water costs money and it doesn’t grow on trees) it was like heaven on earth.
We would run through that sprinkler cautiously at first then with more bravado the wetter we became. And it was pure, simple joy. As the cold water cascaded down our faces and our wet hair plastered itself to our face in cool wet clumps, we were in heaven. The magic of that yellow sprinkler has stuck with me to this day.
I took 3 of my grandchildren to the local sprinkler park to cool off the other day and it too was simple and fulfilling. It is an upscale version of course and the water ejects from the sprinklers in a preset pattern, but the excitement of getting wet and the unknown factor of which sprinkler will burst forth with cold, wet, delicious water is still simple joy. As I watched my grandsons walk into the sprinkler area with their little sister ( because Grandma asked us to) they were hesitant to let loose and enjoy the fun of cool water. They are a bit older and perhaps thought the sprinkler park was for babies. When one of them “accidently” got soaked, it was like a door to fun opening wide, they began to run and fly through the sprinklers laughing at the joy of getting wet and cooling down and being brothers.
It didn’t cost a fortune, it wasn’t overcrowded and the biggest rewards was hearing them say “that was a fun day”.
I enjoyed watching them revel in the beauty of simplicity. I hope you find simple joy in life. It is there for the taking.
Until Next Time,