SUMMERTIME, AND LIVIN’ WAS EASY 

Before calling it a day, usually in the wee hours of the morning, I’d go to the Club’s kitchen and get a cantaloupe-sized loaf of bread, baked fresh that evening for whatever occasion was going on, and an RC Cola. Then I headed over to the marina, out to the end of the dock, and set down for a late-night snack. It was summertime, and livin’ was easy. 

The view across Prien Lake was of the I210 bridge a couple of miles north, and the oil refineries a few miles away to the west. At night, all lit up, they reminded me of Christmas lights, and distant lightning storms were better than a light show. 

To my right and left were stately homes lining the lakeside, and behind me the marina, home to some mighty fine power and sail boats. Many were from out of state, some from foreign countries. 

I was a lifeguard at the private Country Club’s pool and lived in a small two-room building down by the dock. 

I was making good money and had few expenses. Most of my meals came from the kitchen, consisting of what I could find, or, if the club had hosted an event, indulge in a few courses of what was left over from the occasion. I did not go hungry. 

But I enjoyed the warm bread and Cola out on the dock in the darkness, most of all. It was beautiful and quiet. I couldn’t see the future, but knew it was good. 

It was a good time. I had no steady girlfriend and was happy and free. Funny how that works sometimes. 

Days were simple. The pool opened early and closed late. During breaks there was water-skiing and sailing and if off for half a day, a quick trip to the gulf and we were surfing the almost non-existent waves. Except when there was a storm in the gulf, then it was almost California. 

I had access to the golf course. Up early, I'd usually be the first off the tee, and back in time for work. There was ping pong in the recreation/snack room when it rained, which was often enough. Like I said, days were simple. 

Lifeguarding became routine but a few incidents stand out in my memory. 

For instance, the chlorine we used in the pool. It was strong, and bleached my hair blond and bronze, with a hint of green. I thought it looked pretty good. 

As I mentioned previously, rain was common, but sometimes thunderstorms were just outrageous. We’d toss chairs and tables that the wind could toss into the pool, to be retrieved after the storm passed. Big lumbering low hanging clouds that charged the air and gave off a purplish green cast. Lightning and thunder so close and loud you couldn’t count between the flash and the boom. So close, the place would shake.  


And then there were the two guys who liked giving me a hard time. One, “the rich-kid goof “, and the other, “the goof head-lifeguard”. Both of them showoffs. Perhaps they thought the same of me. It was just trash-talk kind of stuff.  

Besides swimming lessons at the pool, we had competitions. One of the events was swimming for distance underwater. The “rich-kid goof” would win as the other swimmers had already come up for air. He was trying to make it to the end of the lap which would be a new distance record. Then, he slowly glided to the bottom, motionless. He had passed out.  

I jumped in and retrieved him to the surface where the other guards pulled him out and revived him. There would be no more underwater distance competitions at the pool after that. 

Next week, “the goof head-lifeguard”, none the wiser from the previous week’s lesson attempted to best his distance underwater. Same thing. He glided to the bottom, motionless. 

We were the only guards on “duty”, and he was on the bottom. I jumped in and pulled him up. In chest deep water I wrestled with his teeth trying to pry open his jaw so his lungs could draw in air. The jaw clamps down tight with the lack of oxygen. My thumb was numb for a couple of weeks. There are now plastic screw devices that can be inserted between the teeth to help with this.  

He regained consciousness and noted he had felt fine not realizing he was about to pass out. The other fellow had said the same thing. Neither of them gave me a hard time again. 

The days rolled one into another and livin’ was easy. Then the Rock n Roll Music Bug bit me. 

And everything changed. 

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Image by David Mark from Pixabay