AND THEN AGAIN by Tamara Pettit

……We are expanding our online edition each week.    While our  print edition limited us as to how many articles and photos we could fit into twelve pages, the digital edition does not and I’m excited to tell you this digital edition has more news than our print edition ever did.  Remember to send us your “Small Town Summertime” photos so that we can feature them.   Also, remember that we still are eager to get your comments in our “Letters to the Editor” section.

……I was interested to see Governor Justice award Community Development Block Grants to communities that had organized efforts to tear down dilapidated structures.  He was right to expand that eligibility to those projects.  Many communities have identified buildings which are not only an eyesore, but also a health and safety risk, but they lack the funds to finance the demolitions.  While you can go after the owners of those buildings for the demolition costs you still must front the money before doing so.   And, often locating the owner or a group of owners is often a lengthy and expensive process, especially for communities with limited funds.   I say let’s go after that CDBG money next year.

……It’s vacation time and many are heading to the beach this summer.   I headed into Dollar General Sunday morning on a mission.  I quickly gathered up a raft(for me) and a float which offered a pillow and a cup holder (for Shannon).  I scooped up some beach towels, scored a few flip flops, but declined the BEACH hat.  I had a hat left over from a trip to Aruba many moons ago.  I was headed out to float my cares away.   I had purchased a pool and was so excited about whiling away the afternoon floating on a raft soaking up the rays with nary a care in the world. 

…..I was good to go and ready to launch my summer fun  as soon as my pool filled up with water from the hose.  No, we had not installed an in-ground pool nor had we bought a large above ground pool with ladder and deck and all the complications that both incur.   I had purchased a 12-foot- round 3- foot- high inflatable pool that was now sitting on my very flat in one spot lawn filling with water. 

…..It’s big enough for your average toddler and perfect for your middle aged and beyond.   It’s a baby pool on steroids and Shannon and I had decided it met our needs.   You gotta  make the best of what you got and we are determined.    Last year during the COVID pandemic  I lusted after a trip to the beach.   I needed water.    I was so desperate, I  even tried to get into Tomlinson Run Pool one steamy day, but  I didn’t make the cut.   This year,  we are spending the summer at home, but will not be left high and dry.  We have our rafts; our pool and  Shannon has a waterproof cast on her leg.   Or, so she says.

…..I can’t swim.  Much like my inability to ride a bike, my ineptness was the result of a mother who transferred all her fears to me.  My Mom’s family history reads like an Irish tragedy.  She recalled that as a small child she was thrown from a boat in the middle of the Ohio River by a drunken relative who believed that you would automatically discover your ability to swim when thrown into the water.     She didn’t and she almost drowned,   So, like any rational mother, she passed her fear onto both of her daughters.  We didn’t take swimming lessons and  were banned from the shores of the Ohio River or any large body of water

……Luckily, that ban did not include Tomlinson Run Pool.   That pool was the stuff summer was made of during my teen years.  Once  I was  deemed old enough to yell for a lifeguard and surround myself with friends who could swim,  Mom had no problem if I spent my days at the pool.  Transistor radio in hand and Coppertone in my bag, I along with other friends would line up our blankets near the deep end as if we were surfer babes.  A quick dip to cool off now and then and a few subversive attempts to stay afloat and I was in Heaven.   Every day I would come home exhausted from the sun and surf;  hang up my bathing suit;  and lie on my bed dreaming dreams of Gidget, my surfer girl hero.   

…..My kids loved the water as well, but by then Waterford (now Mountaineer) had a “Bath & Tennis” club and our day was  centered around getting to the pool.  Since their dad was a self -proclaimed “River Rat” who not only swam like a fish but water skied and did high dives off the diving,  my little ones learned to swim from the time they were tadpoles.  They carefully position their mom near the shallow end, however, lest she forget and jump into the water.  It was idyllic.

…….Shannon and I are making memories in our little pool.    From the vantage point of my side yard,  we see butterflies and birds and watch the clouds drift across the sky.    We float on rafts and emerge from the pool refreshed.  We sit on the side porch and laugh.    Nope, our summer isn’t perfect, but it’s darned good!