We’d no sooner arrived at the beach than Lacey took grandson Madden to the beach. None of us were exactly sure how things would play out. It could be either good times or a complete bust. All held our breaths and crossed our fingers as she sat him on the sand. It was a good sign that he didn’t whimper when sand stuck to his hands. He looked at them, moved from sitting to crawling position, and cut a trail toward the incoming wave. They washed over him, and he smiled and waited for next one. We breathed sighs of relief that Madden had fancied the water. I shouldn’t have been surprised. The boy comes from a long list of “waterdogs.”

When I was a young, our family didn’t take vacations to far away places. Only one time did we pile into the car and drive to Treasure Island, Florida. The rest of the time, Daddy stayed home and worked while the rest of us traveled to the Smokey Mountains for a week at King’s Cottages. Our days were spent swimming in the icy cold waters of the river that ran close to our cabin.

Days began with breakfast, and after waiting for an hour for our food to digest, we walked the quarter up a mile dried-up river bed to the swimming hole. Sometimes, all of us slowly walked into the water and allowed it to numb them gradually. On other occasions, we took deep breaths, took off running, and dove under the water. Our heads surfaced as we waited for the pain to subside as our bodies adapted to the water temperature. Entire days were spent in that water. Our only escape was to eat lunch. Kids suffered through sunburned skin, which made the water seem that much colder, toes stubbed on rocks, which felt better as the water numbed them, and poison ivy outbreaks, which were soothed by coolness to skin. We even swam after dark and were surprised at how much warmer the water felt during the nighttime.
When Lacey and Dallas were young, we purchased a membership to a subdivision pool a few miles from the house. Those two loved the water as well. They’d begin begging me early in the morning to take them swimming, and after considerable griping, we hopped in the car and drove to the pool. The kids enjoyed jumping into my arms from the side, but as they grew older, playing with friends and other children at the pool took center stage. I sat in the pool, more to keep from being burned by the sun than anything else. On many summer evenings we made a return trip to the pool and stayed until closing time or until someone got too tired. Sometimes, the kids would fall asleep in the backseat of the car before arriving home. That swimming pool gave plenty of fun and exercise, and it led to many nights of sound sleep to two little ones.

Now Madden is taking his turn in the water. I’m glad he’s not afraid. Children who become scared of the water miss so much of the fun that makes summer complete. Amy and I have discussed building a pool in our back yard. I’m against it because its maintenance would fall in my lap. She reminds me of how much fun it would be to have our children and grandchildren enjoying the water. I’m not sold on the idea yet, but I know that if the pool is built, our waterdogs will come.