Friday, February 11, 2011

... we'd slip in and grab another cup of Cheer ...

Swimming in the irrigation pond wasn't always an option when we were young.  We little kids couldn't be left alone in the water, the older ones were working, and Mother was too busy to watch us.  Daddy built the 'little pool' by the house.

It was made of concrete blocks, stacked two high.  In one corner was a metal pipe fitting with a plug.  When it was time to clean out the pool, we simply unscrewed the plug and out came the water.  The pool filled up with leaves over time and the leaves would clog up the drain while we were draining it.  Our little hands would reach into the drain again and again, impatiently pulling out leaves.  Sometimes the leaves would stop it up and we couldn't get them out.  A short dash to the nearest stick and we were back again, pushing the stick through the drain, trying to push the leaves through.  Of course I'd always grab a stick that was too weak, it would break off, and off I'd go again with pigtails flying.  A little further out in the yard on I'd find a more substantial stick.   Back again, I'd push the stick through the drain, pushing leaves out to allow the water to flow faster. We were ready to do anything we thought would drain the pool quickly.  As it drained, we'd clean up any leaves or other trash in the pool.  When it was finally empty, we'd wash it out and refill it with water.  Of course, we washed it out as little as we could get away with.  We kids didn't care about the bits of leaves and sticks.  We wanted the pool filled with water, we wanted to get into it now, and NOW was never soon enough.
Edith Ellen sitting on the empty pool

The little pool was by the slide and clothes line.  It was a neat place to do a quick hide during hide-and-seek games IF it was empty.   A leap over the side and we'd lay down against the wall closest to 'it', the person hunting us.  When it was empty, gopher turtles were placed in it until David Taylor came to pick them up.  

Every so often we would ask Mother if we could use some clothes detergent in the pool.  We didn't ask often.  Mother would quickly let us know that soap was only to be used when the pool was drained and refilled.  If the pool was already full, the soap wouldn't make bubbles.  To our delight, every now and then she'd say yes.  Off we'd go to get a cup of Cheer from the kitchen cabinet.  This was a special occasion!  We well knew how to make the most of this privilege.  We would hurry to clean out the pool and drain all the water.  ALL the water was to be drained and the pool especially cleaned out THIS time.  The precious cup of detergent sat to the side, waiting.  After the pool was cleaned, we'd replace the plug and put in the water hose.  Ohhh, but the water from the hose was cold!  We normally 'swam' in the pool in water that had been sitting for days in the pool, heated by our hot Florida sun.  When the water began to cover all the bottom, it was finally TIME!  We'd pour the detergent in the deepest corner and place a thumb over the end of the water hose, causing it to come out with more force.  Pointing the strongest force of water into the corner where we had dumped the soap, we'd watch and laugh as bubbles started forming, building up into big mounds of white suds.  If we really felt daring, we'd slip in and grab another cup of Cheer to add to the water when Mother wasn't looking.  Our fingers would be so sore and tired from holding the end of the hose and restricting the force of water.  The more force, the more bubbles.  When Mother realized that we had taken more detergent than she expected, we knew it would be a while before she would give permission for us to use Cheer in the pool again.  If we put that much work and intensity into our daily chores, Mother and Daddy's life would have been much easier.

Every now and then, somehow, some of the detergent would end up on the slide with the water hose at the top.  For a few slides, it was super slick!  If the youngest had a chance to be first when soap was added to the slide, it simply meant that there was a good reason for the older ones to stand back.  The reason was usually that it was so slick that the youngest, finding herself/himself unexpectedly flying wildly down the slide was a source a amusement to the older siblings.  

Donald, Judy, Harold sitting on the edge
Edith Ellen in the pool

When we were very young, this was such a highlight of our day.  Mother was glad to have us cleaned off so that we didn't have to have 8 baths that night!

A few years later; Daddy sitting on the edge of the pool

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