Many stories herein are subject to the faulty, and sometimes creative, memory of the blog owner and should not be taken as factual, although the names and events are real! Kind of.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Swimming in the Country

I read all the time you know, books, magazines, the butter wrapper. And half the world, it seems (according to these print items except for the butter wrapper) has a beachfront cottage--on the ocean or on a lake. And as I read, I can picture all this loveliness in my mind. Miles of shoreline, shady trees, sandy beaches, seashells!

But it certainly doesn't match up with the beach we visited as kids! Oklahoma proclaims that it has more miles of shoreline than any other state. We have tons of lakes--mostly manmade and mostly begun in the '30s courtesy of WPA and CCC Projects (jobs were created for the unemployed in the depression).

We called our local lake "Clearlake"--a misnomer for sure because it is not anywhere near clear, but was called that for the closest town--A spot between Beaver and Laverne that had a general store, a church and a school when I was just a little tyke. The real name of the lake is "Lake Evans Chambers" and it has 3 whole miles of shoreline and it was built in 1965. As you can see, there is a distinct lack of trees on this lakeshore but that didn't keep us from enjoying it! Perhaps you know that trees in the Oklahoma Panhandle are a rarity away from a homestead or a creek bottom.

We cooled our house with a watercooler so you can imagine that when the heat and humidity was high, the lake was the place to go, shade or no shade! The desperate can crouch in the head-high weeds and cattails along the shore--just watch out for snakes! There were a few cottonwoods a ways back from the lake edge where we had bonfires but the water weeds blocked your view of the water!

This lake has lots of memories. We often had a weinie roast and fished there on summer evenings. One evening, we all watched in horror from the bridge as the boat my grandpa and dad were in turned over and....sunk. But horror turned to laughter when they surfaced with tackle boxes and fishing poles bobbing around them and they grabbed the floating gear, swam a few feet then waded to the shore--such is a lake in Northwest Oklahoma. There are deep spots but if you paddle a bit, you'll soon touch bottom! I'm betting that one of them caught a fish, stood up in the boat to show it off and it overbalanced and flipped them out!

My mom took the afternoon off from canning and sewing to take us and some friends to the lake. You will notice a lack of photographic skills when viewing these pictures! Remember the pocket instamatic with the teeny tiny rolls and film and thus teeny tiny negatives? The pictures weren't too great anyway and add to that a terrible point and shoot photographer.....

You might also notice on the far shore of the lake what appears to be a pasture. You might have to compete with the cows for swimming privileges!

I always wanted a canoe because this would be the perfect size lake for using one. You could probably paddle around it in an hour! But the other thing about Northwest Oklahoma--there's always the wind. I think a canoe would have been blown over pretty quickly just about any day you picked to launch it! And every time I mentioned it, everyone was quick to remind me about Dad and Grandad's amazing sinking adventure!

We didn't always go to the lake to cool off. Sometimes we played in the sprinkler and we even had our own pool!

Here's my brother waving from the cool retreat of our cowtank swimming pool. Every few years, my dad would need a new tank in the pasture and he'd take this one, then we'd get a new pool! How lucky were we!

Our most fun game was to go around and around in circles, creating a whirlpool! Or to drag the swingset over to the tank and put the slide in it. This didn't work too well because the slide was too short and just kind of hung there in mid-air, not giving you much of a slide!

Here's Paula and Andi swimming--love that clear water! Looks like Paula may be making a whirlpool!

One more thing about our family and swimming--we use LOTS of sunscreen!


Arlon said...

Brings back memories. I am from near Woodward. Now I live and work in the big city, OKC. I enjoyed reading your blog. Arlon

Andi said...

And wasn't it the absolute best!

Shelley said...

Dawn, thanks for sharing your wonderful childhood memories. I've never been to the lake "EvanS chambers" but I bet it looks just like it did when you were a kid.

I wanted to let you know that I've gotten out of the blog business, so you can delete "My prayer Garden" from your links. I continue to look forward to reading your blog.

Marilyn said...

i am glad that you have so many wonderful memories and the pictures, Did you take all of those. I guess you always loved doing that. The posts gave me a lot of good memories.

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