On Lolling, Innovation and Rural Skullduggery

August 2018

Margot Oxendine

Oh, it’s the hottest month of the year — and, this year, that’s saying something — and I can’t stop wishing I had a pool where I could loll around. I am very good at lolling, especially in a pool.

I think if I ever hit a jackpot of some sort, the first thing I’ll do is put in an in-ground pool. Just a small one. One of those where you can swim forever and never get anywhere. I’ve surveyed my yard, and the only place it would fit is right underneath the pole where all the electrical and phone lines come together. Recipe for disaster, I’m thinking. (Of course, to hit a jackpot, I’d have to play a gambling game, and I’m sure no gambler.)

There is a large public pool just a few miles from my house. I cannot bring myself to go there. It is, as most pools are this time of year, chockablock with screaming children. And I just can’t get past the thought of what most, if not all, children do when they’re in a pool. I’d rather sit on my porch and read and perspire. Then, take a cold shower.

There’s another pool about 12 miles away that is private. You pay, and then you can go anytime, for as long as you like. The water is very cold. I like it that way. There are rarely any screaming children. But, getting there is like taking a day trip of sorts. You’ve got to plan and pack and drive, and who has that kind of time most weekdays? Still, I’d do it, but getting into the pool means getting into the relentless sunshine, and we all know where that already got me. So: a cold shower it is.

I did for awhile come up with an innovative idea to have my own private pool. I bought a turquoise blue plastic watering trough from a farm store. It had a drain plug at the bottom. I covered an old flower garden with a bright-green Astroturf carpet (I’m much better at growing Astroturf than flowers), put the pool in the middle, and filled it up with the rarely used garden hose. I found that if you let the hose lay unrolled in the sunshine for a while, the water inside it becomes warm. Until it doesn’t. Good thing I like cold water!

I think the pool held 175 gallons of water. I’d fill it up, put on my bathing suit, gather a big plastic glass of ice water and head out. I had, of course, a pink-flamingo “floater” that held the glass and bobbed around. It was a cheerful little scene.

Once word got around to my friends, they came from far and wide to take a gander at my pool. Most looked at me as if I were a bit daft; they complimented my creativity, but none of them actually went home and did the same thing for themselves.

I discovered that, if I covered the pool with a plastic tarp when I got out, the bugs stayed away and I could use it for a couple days before unloosing that plug and letting the water flow out.

My little blue pool oasis was in my backyard, a place no one could see from the road. I’ve always preferred living somewhere no one can constantly observe what I’m doing, or even if I’m home. I’m sort of a hermit, really.

So, imagine my surprise to return home from a trip to Roanoke one summer day, to find the backyard awash in “pool” water, and the pool nowhere to be seen. Yes! Someone had actually gone to the great trouble of stealing my little blue pool! Thank heavens, they left my pink flamingo floater. Still, I wonder to this day whether some Black Angus cattle are slurping out of it, or whether someone, somewhere, who desperately wanted a backyard pool is now lolling around in cold water. You’re welcome, you devious thief!

Today, it will hit 90 degrees here in our normally cool little corner of Bath County. I see a cold shower in my future. No bathing suit necessary.

To read more of Margo’s adventures, order her book, “A Party of One.” Call 540-468-2147 Monday-Thursday from 9-5. Or email: [email protected]