July 15, 2005


If you turn west at the flashing red light which is the landmark for giving directions around these parts, and then hang a right past Barker's store, you'll come to the South Sutter Recreation Association (SSRA) Pool. The pool was built over fifty years ago, mostly by local farmers who grew weary of hearing about kids drowning in area rivers. It's only by sheer determination and the dedication of a few local folks that the pool remains open. Every year, it is announced that the pool will be closing for good due to lack of funds, and yet, every summer, it somehow manages to open for at least a month or two.

If you park your car on the gravel, and walk under the shade trees to the pool entrace, you'll be greeted by one of the two sisters who serve as lifeguards. On your right you'll see a door, and next to the door, the word GUYS hand-painted on the cinder block wall. On your left, the same thing, except that the word is GALS. After you pay your entrance fee ($1 for kids, $3 for adults), you may pass through.

There are two pools. The wading pool is for young children, and the larger pool is for the older kids and adults. There is a diving board above the deep end, which goes down to ten feet. In the water there will be about three dozen children, more if the weather is exceptionally hot. Above them, the dragonflies hover, and above the dragonflies, the cropdusters fly. The cropdusters aren't there every day, but the dragonflies are.

Beyond the fence that surrounds the pool deck there is a field, and beyond the field are the cars and trucks backed up on highway 70, waiting to pass through the already mentioned flashing red light. Someday they're going to re-route the highway and expand it from two lanes to four. Beyond the cars and trucks, far, far beyond, if the air is unusally clear, you can see the high peaks that form the crest of the Sierra Nevada. It always strikes one a little odd that they still have patches of snow upon them, when down here in the valley it is so hot.

The lifeguards know all the kids by name. This is helpful, for example, when one of them is breaking one of the rules, and the lifeguard needs to get their attention. And often, when a certain car pulls up in the parking area next to the pool, the lifeguards will call out, "Jessica! Your mom is here!"

The pool is mostly for the kids, but on the really hot days, one or two adults can usually be seen in the water. It just so happens that today is one of those really hot days. We're talking 106. Yesterday was, too. And the weatherman says we'll have many more before it cools back down into the 90s. So today, the pastor has a new office. You'll find him sitting in his lawn chair in the shade underneath the wooden awning next to the pool, with his clipboard, a pen, some paper and some books to help him write his sermon, and a bottle of ice water. And if he's not there, look in the pool.


Purple Hydrangea said...

Sounds like a great "office"... need to get water proof paper/pens and sit in the water though, because I know how hot it is under that awning..

PPB said...

I want that office!