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Letters to the Editor

Build it and they will come

To the Editor:

Thank you George, Hitch, Jo Ann, Tracy, Kevin, Mike P. and the current Morris City Council for “paying it forward” from the progressive 1912 Morris City Council, who had the foresight to build the original pool.

It should be the 22nd Century before we have to worry about keeping wet and cool again — two or three generations of summertime fun. That is, unless the whole planet is under water, and it all becomes a moot point.

At least for the immediate future, Morris-area residents will enjoy the liberating freedom that only water buoyancy provides.

I used to take my 96-year-old mother and any other daring residents from the Grundy County Home to Hatcher’s Woods pool a couple times a summer. The staff and I had a ball watching the out-numbered men splash the sophisticated elderly women, who would get aggravated by the old boys splashing water on their gray hair. Some things never change: don’t mess with a girls hair, no matter what color it is.

This past Saturday, the opening day for the new pool was spectacular.  Boys were still splashing girls, girls still screaming and boys still teasing, and all without running or pushing, which is strictly prohibited by the well-trained staff.

My point is, water sports are an age-old tradition that is now guaranteed to flourish in our little corner of the world for as long as any of us will be around to enjoy.  Somewhere around 700 patrons turned out Labor Day weekend alone, with one rain out.

This new pool has something for everyone: three awesome water slides, two mushroom water showers in the zero-entry area, eight lap lanes, a toddler area, and, most important, two high spring boards. Unfortunately one diving board short of those necessary for Mayor Dick to perform his famous Triple Lindy, but still good enough to have plenty of fun.

I love the enthusiasm of families like Mike Wright’s, who stood in line with kids Charlie and Libby to be the first ones to get wet. Mom, along with Grampa and Gramma Wright, also made the effort to be part of the  brand new Morris landmark, which just replaced an old Morris landmark.  (And a special thanks to Missie for catching Papa Ken in mid-air off the top board for all the FB friends, “still as good once as I ever was.”)

For me, the 1960s summers meant mornings at Goodwill Park for pick-up games, one dirty ball, no parents and right field out. Then after a PB&J while watching Bozo’s Circus, the afternoon meant a full-speed/stand-up bike ride to the pool to cool off.

When I heard late Saturday the new pool was open, I could hardly wait to take my two grandkids, Finn and Bergen, down that long row of wide steps leading to the cage inside that old block building leading to the deep blue water that made my childhood summers so special. I could have negotiated the maze-like shower house path blindfolded from memory. All that was missing is that musty smell.

That pool scene from “The Sandlot” was so real for so many kids from Morris, all except the lifeguard stunt, which sadly was missing from my childhood memories.

Baseball, Bozo and swimming on hot summer afternoons in the city pool, Rod and Gun Club, Nettle Creek, or some abandoned strip mine… if it was cool and wet, it was all we needed to complete the perfect summer day.

Someday yet we may have an indoor water world available 12 months a year at a future YMCA, not just for swimming, but for aquatic therapy for all us Baby Boomers, to active kids zones away from cell phones. If they make waterproof electronic devices, they will be banned.

Just in case you forgot, this is “Buzz the Gut” Friday. I will be there with or without the rest of you, but it’s much more fun to share with friends.

Last month was awesome – many classics and a few minivans, like that of Sara Davy, who painted the windows with her kids’ names as if they were on their way to a state championship. We are so lucky to live in a place that puts such emphases on family fun.

Maybe that’s why so many young families like the Wrights and Davys chose not only to grow where they were once planted, but lay down permanent roots, plant new seeds to mature, and keep our hometown garden growing for years to come.

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