Summertime was a special time for boys, down on the farm. A lot of things changed when the weather began to warm in the first part of April. In addition to green grass, blooming flowers, and the red-breasted robins, there were little boys just itching to get out of our long johns and into our BVDs. Soon afterwards it was our shoes we were anxious to shed. The first few days of going barefoot were a little tricky. We were very careful where we stepped, so we could avoid rocky patches and rough ground. However, after the first week, we didnít mind walking barefoot almost anywhere.
Beginning in May, we usually had swimming weather. I was one of the most fortunate boys. About two miles away, the neighbors had a farm pond. It was larger than most ponds and it was spring fed. The water was always clear and cold. There were four neighbor boys and they loved company, especially down at the swimming hole. Then there were four or five guys in my gang that thought nothing of riding our ponies four or five miles to go swimming.
Most of us were busy in the morning doing our chores. However, right after dinner, our noon meal, we all headed for the swimming hole. Usually, the first ones there were the neighbor boys, because they lived nearby. Before we swam, we would cut down a tree branch and walked around the pond beating the grass and weeds, to drive the water snakes and frogs to the shallow end of the pond.
There was a diving board on one side of the pond. A long rope was tied to a tall tree branch that allowed us to swing out over the water and let go. The last person into the water usually got a "ducking". Needless to say, girls were not allowed.
I had a shepherd dog named Queenie. She loved to swim as much as we did and we taught her to jump off the diving board with us. Later, we taught her to go around the pond and shoo the snakes and frogs away.
We had a problem on some weekends. The swimming hole was close to a picnic ground. Whenever there was a picnic, we were forbidden to swim without a swim suit. Some of us didn't even own swim suits. However, our BVDs would serve as a substitute, at least until we got into the water.
On one occasion, a bunch of silly girls sneaked over from the picnic area. They tied our clothes in knots and tossed them into the pond. When I got home, Grandma questioned me, at length, as to why my overalls were damp.
None of us went on to be champion swimmers but we sure got a lot of exercise and had a lot of fun. I'm kind of glad I didn't have a TV to sit around and watch. Think of all the fun I'd have missed.