C. Stroup – Everybody In The Pool!

It’s been an excruciatingly long hot summer for all of us.  And I’m soooo glad it’s almost over.  What with the drought and the incredible string of endless 100-degree days it’s been boring weather wise.  And I’m tired of trying to keep the grass watered and the flowers from withering up.  There have been some cool moments, though.

Papa Stroup came to visit and I couldn’t be more proud of him for making the trip.  He’s 92 years old and still going strong.  While it was hot in St. Louis where he came from we brought him down here to share some totally toasty days with us.  Thank goodness for air-conditioned cars and homes and stores and restaurants.  What in the world did people do in the old days without these conveniences?  Papa really appreciates them and so going out shopping to Harbor Freight (a man’s dream store for inexpensive tools and other assorted junk) and going out for dinner didn’t hurt anyone.  We thoroughly enjoyed his visit and always marvel at his memory as ours are not what they used to be.

You’d think with a pool in our backyard we’d be out in it for a diversion and some fun in the sun.  Unfortunately we had a time of it this year with that nasty mustard algae clinging to all sides.  We did manage to get that cleared up just in time for our son’s annual “Go to Mom and Dad’s house with 20 or so friends for a pool party.”  This has turned into a yearly thing for the past some years and although a bit of a hassle I do enjoy the kids.  They’re all around 30 years old and have kids of their own that they bring.  So much of my house was filled with baby strollers and pop up playpens for naps and all the assorted other stuff that kids need to go for a visit.

Brad did not give much notice this time for his party.  He called about 5 days ahead and wanted to know if it would be alright to have a few friends over in a few days.  This is the usual presentation, “just a few people, just for a couple of hours and we’ll bring everything and you won’t have to do a thing.”  I’ve broken the code on this to mean there will be at least 20, it will be at least 3 hours and they’ll always forget some stuff like big bowls, mayo, paper towels, a beach towel here and there, the usual.  As for us not having to do anything…well the outside tables and chairs did have to be wiped down, the area around the pool swept, the leaves cleaned out of the pool, just to name a few of not having to do anything.

This time they brought fixins for sub sandwiches which made mealtime a lot easier than last year.  Trying to BBQ hot dogs and hamburgers in the scorching sun didn’t cut it. 

Once their bellies were full of chips and dip and cool deli meats, tomatoes, avocados, watermelon, and cookies for dessert they headed out of the house for the water.  The diving board always gets a real workout and this day was no different.  And I always pray that nobody gets hurt while diving.  Some of those cannonballs are scary and they seem to be way to close to the board.  Makes me shiver even on the hottest day. 

When my time comes I think I’ll be a good grandma as I did get to hold a 4 ½ month old for as long as I wanted and he was adorable and a good baby, too.  And his 2-year-old brother was well behaved and both kidlets enjoyed the pool.  There was another 1-year-old, good as gold, and a 2 ½ month old little bitty thing.  She was a tad on the fussy side so I avoided getting too involved.

They had all arrived around 11:00 am and were ready to head out by 3:00 pm.  That’s 4 hours.  If it sounds like I’m complaining I’m really not.  Why have a pool if no one uses it?  And the kids are good about cleaning up their mess, for the most part.  I’ve learned not to clean the house before they come, but rather after they leave.  Sometimes I come out ahead on leftovers and an occasional beach towel or a pair of sunglasses.  This year I returned a shirt left behind last year.  It didn’t fit me.

What does fit me is for fall to be in the air and football to be on TV…enough of these dog days of summer!

Originally published in the September 2011 issue of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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