Last weekend the Warden and I went for a quick visit to Dad's house and thoroughly enjoyed the slower pace. And I enjoyed some trips down memory lane with a visit to "the farm" where I grew up (although the house no longer stands) and a stop at Bolin Bridge where many a hot afternoon was spent.
The urban expansion in that area of the country however is phenomenal and does detract from the visual remembrances. Old homesteads, with barns and chicken houses have been replaced with two story condominiums and cow pastures divided into multiple lots with 1/4 to 1/2 million dollar homes. The traffic on the old two lane highway to the farm now rivals that of many metropolises but without the added security of traffic lights and multiple lanes. That is until you turn off onto the rough dirt road the last leg of the trip to the farm. The major change there is the street sign which now names the road. What use to be "route 2" is now Fruitwood Drive. I consider myself most fortunate to have grown up there before the urban sprawl.
Back then there was time to "cool off" in the cold water down at Bolin Bridge. The water was clear and the bridge made a good diving platform and some one usually tied a rope up in a tree so you could swing out and do "cannon balls". There was always a few old inner tubes to float around in and see who could flip the other out of theirs. On occasion we would take a watermelon or two, juicy and red, for an afternoon snack and let the juice drip down on your belly as you ate it right off the rind. And then after you were all sticky and drawing flies, you'd head back to the swimming hole to wash off the excess.
It seems to me there was always a passel of people there at any given time and if anybody drove by they'd stop and visit for a few minutes. If you were eating, they'd stop and have a bite. If we done chores early and went in the late afternoon, we'd have a weenie roast and maybe some soda pop's floating in a washtub with a chunk of ice to keep them cool (my favorite was a NeHi grape ... I wonder if they still even make those). To top off the evening we'd have toasted marshmallows. I'm living proof that high doses of salt and sugar won't kill a kid!
Then after the sun would go down and the mosquitoes begin to bite real good, some of the older kids would begin to tell "ghost stories" that would scare the dickens out of us younger kids. I reckon today that would be against some rule or would cause some sort of psychosis or something, but we survived it.
Every time I drive by a "water park" these days, I think of Bolin Bridge, Blue Hole, Whitebluff, Adriens and all the other swimming holes we had. I watch the kids playing and wonder if they will be able, when they get older, to look back in fondness as I do.