Summers are long, hot, dry and miserable. And I am sure that some 50 years ago summers were also long, hot, dry and miserable – to my parents anyway. Hey, I was a kid back then and summers were never long enough or hot enough to keep my friends and myself from having three months of fun, fun, fun. During my school days, it seemed like summer was over before you hardly had time to roll out of bed that first day after the final school bell sounded.

Summers are long, hot, dry and miserable. And I am sure that some 50 years ago summers were also long, hot, dry and miserable – to my parents anyway. Hey, I was a kid back then and summers were never long enough or hot enough to keep my friends and myself from having three months of fun, fun, fun. During my school days, it seemed like summer was over before you hardly had time to roll out of bed that first day after the final school bell sounded.

There were plenty of ways to staying occupied like riding a bike, playing baseball or mowing the yard – yuk!

A trip to the swimming pool was one way of cooling off. I remembering playing “Sea Hunt” with my flippers, diving mask and snorkel before graduating to more important things like taking swimming lessons. I was never terribly fond of the water. I had a near death experience at a motel pool in Grenada, Mississippi during a summer vacation when I was six years old.

I can't recall just how many summers later it was but my next-door mom and her daughter (my best friend) encouraged me to take swimming lessons. I didn't really want to do it but I think some leverage was used with my mom to get me to give in and participate.

It started on the shallow end by holding on to the bank and kicking your feet. Hey, that was fairly simple. Eventually, we moved to the center of the pool where we each learned to float and trust the instructor.

After a few lessons we moved to the deeper water about 5 and ½ feet. I could barely touch the bottom and keep my chin above the water. Soon, we were swimming across the pool after learning the proper arm strokes and blowing out the water.

A few days before the final class, the instructor told us that we had to swim across the deep end of the pool, about 9 feet deep, to pass the course. I began to dread the approaching graduation night. I got butterflies in my stomach but I did it. It was very comforting to look up and see that the instructor was well within arms length; so I knew nothing was going to happen to me.

Some of the graduates celebrated by diving off the diving board. Since that was optional, I respectively declined.

The old concrete swimming hole was an Osceola summer institution for many summers. One of my early assignments was to take photos of some local bathing beauties who were teaching swimming lessons to youngsters. It was a difficult job but someone had to do it.

The last time I visited Osceola the old swimming hole was being dug up. That was several summers ago, so I am sure that it is gone by now and just part of the park's landscape that surrounded it.

It was there that I came face to face with my fear of water. They say once you learn how to swim you never forget. However, the last time I climbed into a pool I couldn't even remember how to float properly and I still don't feel comfortable in water where I can't touch my feet on the bottom.

Needless to say, swimming is no longer part of my summer other than watching my grandchildren splash around and have lots of fun.