Wednesday, June 4, 2014


Good Morning, Class of '64
The Old Swimming Hole - John Sloane -

swimming hole
1. a place, as in a stream or creek,
where there is water deep enough
to use for swimming.

Beautiful Natural U.S. Swimming Holes

Swimming Hole

There was an old swimming hole out the road, and across the bridge, then down a cow path from where we lived. In those years of little legs and feet it seemed too far to venture. It seemed far because little legs and feet didn't travel a great distance from the security of the front yard and home. Anyplace beyond that was "way off yonder".

In our youngest years a neighbor lady would walk with us to the old swimming hole. She would sit on the bank, and we would play in the water until she grew tired of watching us or had to go home and start supper. As we grew older and was allowed to gad about on our own, we went there with other kids our age to splash around and explore. Our time there seemed much too short when the neighbor lady was with us - on our own we could stay as long as we wanted.

The hole was in the bend of a creek and was fed by another smaller creek that flowed into it. It was known as "The Forks". Out in the middle of the hole at The Forks was a huge rock that we simply called "The Big Rock". Going out to the big rock took some courage, because the water would be over your head before you got there. The brave ones would go out there and dive into the water. I never dived into the water, but I did tippy toe out to the big rock and tippy toe back to the bank a few times, bobbing up and down all the way.

The boys did the usual things of annoying the girls. Somehow they knew how to make a big spash toward you by turning their hand, fingers upward, and giving it a strong push through the water. They did the regular hand and arm wave splash, too. Truth be told, we did a lot of splashing of our own. But, we hated the boys back then, and we thought they hated us.

Sometimes, with a friend, we would wander off from the crowd and their antics at the hole to make our way back up the creek toward the bridge. The creek was shallow above the hole, with only pockets of water here and there. Tree branches hung low over the creek bed, and sometimes we would have to bend over to get past them. Walking gingerly over the rocks, that could often be slippery and covered with moss, we would find fossil rocks with imprints of clam shells. What we did with them, I don't know. Somewhere in our education somebody had taught us about fossils, though, because we knew what they were.

A friend and I, on a nostalgia trip a few years ago, walked to the old swimming hole. Trees and undergrowth that had shaded us and hid us in childhood were gone. The area was mowed and cleared of it's wildness. There was no longer a cow path to follow to the hole. The property owner crossed the field (actually a very neatly mowed lawn) to the creek bank and questioned our being there. The old swimming hole at The Forks, a memory from the past, was gone, probably from many years of flooding. Our welcome at The Forks was gone, too.

Swimming Hole - Mead Shaeffer
The Old Swimming Hole - Robert Gunn

The Old Swimmin' Hole

James Whitcomb Riley
Oh! the old swimmin'-hole! 
whare the crick so still and deep
Looked like a baby-river that was laying half asleep,
And the gurgle of the worter round the drift jest below
Sounded like the laugh of something we onc't ust to know
Before we could remember anything but the eyes
Of the angels lookin' out as we left Paradise;
But the merry days of youth is beyond our controle,
And it's hard to part ferever with the old swimmin'-hole.

Oh! the old swimmin'-hole! In the happy days of yore,
When I ust to lean above it on the old sickamore,
Oh! it showed me a face in its warm sunny tide
That gazed back at me so gay and glorified,
It made me love myself, as I leaped to caress
My shadder smilin' up at me with sich tenderness.
But them days is past and gone, 
and old Time's tuck his toll
From the old man come back to the old swimmin'-hole.

Oh! the old swimmin'-hole! 
In the long, lazy days
When the humdrum of school made so many run-a-ways,
How plesant was the jurney down the old dusty lane,
Whare the tracks of our bare feet was all printed so plane
You could tell by the dent of the heel and the sole
They was lots o' fun on hands at the old swimmin'-hole.
But the lost joys is past! Let your tears in sorrow roll
Like the rain that ust to dapple up the old swimmin'-hole.

Thare the bullrushes growed, 
and the cattails so tall,
And the sunshine and shadder fell over it all;
And it mottled the worter with amber and gold
Tel the glad lilies rocked in the ripples that rolled;
And the snake-feeder's four gauzy wings fluttered by
Like the ghost of a daisy dropped out of the sky,
Or a wownded apple-blossom in the breeze's controle
As it cut acrost some orchard to'rds the old swimmin'-hole.

Oh! the old swimmin'-hole! 
When I last saw the place,
The scenes was all changed, like the change in my face;
The bridge of the railroad now crosses the spot
Whare the old divin'-log lays sunk and fergot.
And I stray down the banks whare the trees ust to be—
But never again will theyr shade shelter me!
And I wish in my sorrow I could strip to the soul,
And dive off in my grave like the old swimmin'-hole.

The Old Swimming Hole - Thomas Kinkade

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