When I was about twelve years old, I was allowed to go to the swimming hole with my friends. During the mornings I would do the work assigned for me to do in and around the house. The afternoons I would go to the creek for some relief from the heat and there play with my friends. Actually, we tried to get to the road that went to the creek by noon to catch a ride with some one going that way. We had about a mile to walk to get to the road and if we got there after one pm we would usually would have to walk another two miles to the creek. Often if we missed a ride we wouldn’t go.
The water in this creek was colder than the other creeks around because it was narrower with large trees all along the banks keeping the sunshine from the water. As hot as the days were when we jumped into the water it was shock to our bodies. We adjusted to the cold water quickly by jumping. Wading in was tough.
Even though this creek was smaller than the other creeks, it had a small deep hole in which we could swim and play. The reason the hole was there was that sometime in what was for me was the distant past a small electric generating plant had been built there. That is what I was told. There were signs in the soap stone where heavy timbers had been anchored. The swimming hole was known as “The Light Plant”.
Having soap stone in the creek, there was a water fall. The water made a strait drop for three to four feet. In front of the falls there were always rocks that I would estimate being two to four feet in diameter. I would sit at the bottom and in front of the main water flow over the falls, put my feet on one of the large stones and lock my knees to brace myself against the current which was very strong. The water would be roiling all over and around my body. Because of the strong current I would be getting a complete body massage all at once with the addition of the tingling over all my skin caused by the air bubbles that had been taken into the water as it splashed over the falls. I have yet to find a whirl pool or Jacuzzi that would even begin to compare with that experience. Steamy hot Mississippi days, cold water and a massage, only through hindsight did I realize what a wonderful experience I was having.
The next summer I was allowed to stay the night at the creek if I was caught up with my work at home. One of my friends and I stayed two or three nights a week at the creek. We would take a couple of sandwiches for supper. If we took anything for breakfast it would be a couple of eggs, some bacon and bread. Cook the bacon. Use the bacon grease to cook the eggs. Put the eggs and bacon on the bread for a sandwich. It was a good breakfast and all that was needed was a skillet and a fork. An old sheet was all that I took for sleeping. Spread it on the ground and lay down. If I got a little chilled, I would pull the part of the sheet that I was not sleeping on over me. Lying on my back looking at all the stars, listening to the sounds of the night, it was joyful. Sleeping on the ground at my present age sound very uncomfortable. The water was cold when we got there in the afternoons, but it was extra cold at six in the morning. I don’t think I would enjoy getting in that cold water first thing in the morning now either.
It was not unusual for other friends to stay with us. There was one guy; I can’t remember his name that spent several summers in or around that small town. He was older. He had a driver’s license. One summer he showed up in an old Cadillac. It was six, seven, maybe eight years old. We were at the creek one night and it started raining. There were five or six of us there that night. We all ran for his Cadillac. That night we slept in his car. During another night he was telling us he wanted a convertible. We didn’t think much about it but the next time we saw him the top was gone. He had taken a hack saw and cold chisel and cut the top off his car. All things considered it looked pretty good, but there was no converting to it.