Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Last Day of Summer

The Last Day of Summer
The Frog Pond
8.5" x 11"
The light has been different the past few days, as the days grow shorter. Tomorrow, it will be officially fall, and, before we know it, we will have the government mandated time changes. (Just about the time my body gets used to the sun going down earlier!) My dad would never change his clocks. He said that the cows didn't care what time it was. They expected their feed, etc., on their time, not the government's. But, he did have to abide by the time changes as he watched the news or other tv programs, went to church, or went downtown to the stores.
About the time I get ready to paint, my light is fading, so I just work on my drawing, or turn on several lamps over my drawing table. I don't have all the nice, new, artificial lighting where I work on my art. I just open the blinds and have a lot of natural light, on the north west side of the house.
In today's post, I am sharing a drawing that I made when I took my grandson to a wonderful swimming pool here. The pool has a giant frog with a slide in it, for the smaller kids to slide into the water through, and a huge floating, happy snake that divides the pool. There are features for older people too, of course, like the high diving boards. When my grandson was in swimming, there was a woman with a floppy hat and sun glasses, and there are always the mothers, urging their little ones to swim toward them.
While it is a fun pool, it is definitely a popular city pool with lots of people around.
The pool that I really liked was the country club pool where I grew up. It wasn't so big, and had metal pipes around the sides to hold onto. The water was always cold, which was great in the hot summer. There were wooden benches around the sides and wonderful lattice work that provided shade and even a little windbreak. There was a small bath house on the north side of the pool that had something like wooden flats on the floors so that water would drain off wet swimmers and onto the concrete floor and down a drain. Yellow Jackets seemed to like to invade the little house, at times, making us hurry with showers. That was all changed some years ago when they decided that an Olympic style pool was needed. It's nice, but it lacks the charm that the old pool had.
Near the pool was a wonderful, open, clubhouse that overlooked a small lake filled with lilly pads. A wooden swinging bridge led to the caretaker's home across the lake. That was an adventure to walk on, especially when a few boards rotted and fell out! There was a small rowboat that was parked on the lake, which some people used, when the craft was in good condition. When it wasn't, it was still nice to sit in it and talk, or pretend that we were boating. There was a picnic area, where barbeques were held, and a golf course among the oak trees. That was some wonderful barbeque! I wish I had their recipe!
I remember that a young woman, who was just a few years older, and who had a beautiful powder blue Oldsmobile convertable, drove a group of us out to swimming lessons at the pool in her car. I loved that drive, with my hair blowing. I hoped to have a car just like that someday.
I had one of my most embarrassing experiences at that time when it was my turn to dive in the pool and a strap on my bathing suit broke just as I was about to dive. I just fell in the water and stayed in there until someone could find a safety pin to fix my bathing suit with. I think that I didn't want to go swimming anymore. I dont' think anyone even noticed, though, except when I asked for a safety pin and I had to tell someone what happened. One of those embarrassing moments that you never forget.
Another memorabe swimming pool was in the mountains in Raton, New Mexico. My parents, my sister, and I were on our way from our home in Texas to Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah for a week long vacation. I was about 10 years old. We spent the night in Amarillo, then drove on to New Mexico. I remember Daddy talking about Raton Pass. We were tired and cranky from being cooped up in the car for so long. We begged to stop at every swimming pool and play area or rest stop that we whizzed by. So, it was a surprise when we pulled up to a huge swimming pool in the mountains, and Daddy sent my sister and me in to swim. Our parents stayed in the car, and we were a little unsure of what to do in a strange pool. This pool was different. I think they said it was a double pool, like two put together. It was heated and there were deep parts at both ends, while the shallow part was in the middle. Not knowing where we were supposed to swim, exactly, we chose the middle part and edged toward the deeper parts, carefully. That was refreshing and the warm water was so nice in the cool air. We were happy, for a while.
And, then, there was the swimming pool in nearby Hearne, with its gates, bathhouse, and clubhouse all made of unusual red rocks. It had a pool for kids, a life guard, and a high diving board. As we got older, we really didn't go there to swim, but more to show off our new bathing suits and in hopes of getting to know some cute boys from out-of-town. My senior ring ended up in that pool. I let my sister wear it just two weeks after we got our rings, and she lost it when she was in swimming. I guess it drained out to the Brazos River or somewhere. We didn't meet any cute guys at the pool, but we got to look at some, and we got to show off our suits, and splash in the water, being very careful not to get our hair wet. We didn't have enough nerve, or gas money, to venture on to Bryan or College Station pools, where we might have met some college guys.
When I was about 4, I went to a summer camp where my mother's sister was a counselor. They had a huge swimming pool there. I was taking swimming lessons, riding horses, and all that the older kids were doing. The hard part was being in the large cabin, at night, without my mother. However, I managed to get Pink Eye, so while the other kids were splashing in the pool each day, I was sitting on the steps of the nurse's office, getting drops in my eye. Soon, kids started to go home, and then it was announced that there would be no more swimming. There were a couple of drownings, if I remember correctly, and then Polio struck. No one knew what caused Polio then, but it was thought that you could get it from crowds or going in swimming, and who knew what else. It was frightening. The pool was closed and then we were all sent home. We were all scared because we had been exposed. But, the consensus was that I would be alright because I had not been swimming lately due to my Pink Eye. (I had been hoping that would clear up and was counting the days until I could go swimming again, while I sat on the steps with drops in my eye.) But, then, no one was really sure what caused Polio, or how it was contracted, so there was still some cause for concern. Maybe that pool only seemed so big because I was so little. I still remember it as a huge pool, with concrete steps inside, all along the shallow end.
As the years passed, fun at the pool came in watching children, then grandchildren, enjoy swimming and playing in different pools. Now, I wouldn't be caught in a bathing suit or swimming pool, myself. It's fun to watch, and remember, though. It would be nice to walk barefoot in some surf along the beach , but that's quite a distance from here.
Hope you have some good memories of the summer, now that it is ending. Of course, it feels like summer ended and fall began a while back, when school started.
I did "The Frog Pond" from a sketch I made while sitting at the pool one summer. Later, I drew it in ink, in a cartoon style, that I thought might be nice as an illustration for children. This is one that I might still do in color.
Frogs are kind of fun, aren't they! Real frogs, cartoon frogs, and props of frogs-even those with slides through the middle.
Thanks for reading and for your comments and support. Please share with others. I do welcome inquiries and comments. It helps to know that someone is reading, enjoying, and, perhaps, even gaining in some way. Remember that you can see more of my stork drawings and the series on Macular Degeneration in the older posts or archives section. All the series on Macular Degeneration have titles that are prefaced with the word "Vision".
If you see something of interest, let me know.
Happy end of summer '07! Hope that fall is a great one!

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