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Suburban Island

Labor Day Swimming Pool Memories
Sunday, Sept. 05, 2004, 5:28 p.m.

QUESTION: Why isn't every day a three-day weekend?

WHAT I LEARNED: Some summer days last forever.

This is a long weekend for me and it is slipping away at warp speed. This weekend is a special weekend. Itís Labor Day weekend and when it ends school will begin for my son, the high school sophomore. It always makes me think of swimming pools, sunken coins at the bottom of a chlorinated pool, and the last dramatic buzz of summer passing through again on its way to another autumn.

In the olden days, when the kids were younger, summer meant going to the swimming pool in the evenings. Those were the picture postcard days. I brought a cold supper and we ate at a poolside picnic table. The birds sang in the trees. Calm summer fun radiated from the aqua blue pool and the poolside areas. Sometimes, I would get there early enough to consume cans of diet soda while listening to the happy splashing and yelling of waterlogged kids, catching up with neighbors, and maybe even slipping in a few pages of reading. Most likely I would succumb to the begging of my kids to get in the pool with them.

As a kid I too loved to go to the pool. My dad used to call me a little fish. As an adult I am a poolside-sitter. A poolside-sitter may become a swimmer but the transition can be difficult. I have identified two types of swimming pool entry styles: the toe-dipping-slow-immersion and the dive-right-in approaches. Iím a toe-dipper. Eventually, even the toe-dipper will get in the water. With all that pint-sized encouragement, I was in the drink soon enough and giving water rides to small squealing passengers or playing water games devised by kids under 10. Those games, as everybody knows, are the best.

Those were the days when it was a treat for the kids to stay at the pool while twilight fell. When we played card games and the kids showered right in their bathing suits and a few minutes later where home passed out cold in their beds - dreaming happy summertime dreams.

Those days were beautiful days for me too. I always feel a little sad on Labor Day weekend. It is always the official last day for the pool, and for all intents and purposes - summer. At the swimming pool there was always a closing day festivity with food, and music (usually picked by teenagers or fast-thinking adults and blaring out of the official community pool speaker systems), games, and prizes. Just like when I was a kid Ė there was diving for coins tossed to the bottom of the pool by dads standing poolside while moms dangled their feet in the water while talking to friends. You could feel a hint of fall in the air Ė but it was far off. The summer sun was still clinging to everything. It made me want to breath it in a little deeper before these last rays of summertime were lost under a pile of brave-colored leaves and soon after that snow and Christmas carols.

So this weekend is the weekend that holds golden memories from my own childhood and those of my own kids. Even though we donít have a membership to the community pool anymore, I can still bask in that last-days-of-summer poolside glow for a few moments late on a Sunday afternoon on this Labor Day weekend.

DETAILS: Coffee: iced caramel macchiato + Listening to: Steve Tyrell singing the standards + Observing: movies, movies, movies + Thinking: I'm glad this is a three-day weekend + Weather: it's still summer, baby.

Todayís Suburban Strategy: Got Shirley Temple?

Todayís Scenic Cam: Observatory Moment.

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