|Sometimes a moment in our life can become
frozen in memory forever there regardless of how many years have gone
past. This was the sort of thing to happen the summer in Texas when
their little family was living in a very large group of apartments. The
housing was newly constructed and was just short of being a paradise.
The Texas heat had not stopped the builders from having the homes
landscaped and set in rich surrounds. St Augustine grass had been placed
in sheets over the dry barren earth. With abundant watering the grass
was rich and verdant. Each small group of apartments owned its own small
swimming pool. The small pools were kept crystal sparkling clean with
numerous maintenance personnel. If the folks worried about no life
guards on duty no one spoke of it and it didn't seem to be a problem. Of
course, children were not allowed to go into the pool without adults
Set about the grounds on the over all
acreage of at least twenty or maybe thirty acres were various
recreational facilities such as tennis courts, and out door carpeted
jogging tracks. Toward the center of the complex was a very large pool
of Olympic proportions. This pool was decorated with an attractive
waterfall and children's pool. It was an ideal place to entertain guests
because the very size of it made sure it was never over crowded. The
children's section held shallow water and this gave the adults less
worry about them wondering into water over their head.
On this particular day the children of
the two families played together. They were all about the same age and
having a great time in the crystal waters. While they splashed the women
visited, occasionally stopping for a swim across the pool and back again
to a place beside the pool. Some folks would come out to the pool area
just for the companionship. It was common for them to be fully dressed
since they were not swimming but simply enjoying the cool relief from
the Texas summer around the pool. Always it was a most pleasant place to
D'Ann's mother was always busy keeping a
vigilant eye on her two younger daughters. The older girl, D'Ann was in
and out of the shallow pool like a seal. Once she was sliding down the
curved slide, and again she was rolling up into a ball holding her knees
while she dropped like a cannon ball in order to splash the adults
unexpectedly. She was around eight years old, so the adults were not too
worried about her. After all she was in the children's pool.
For some reason, who can explain why, all
four of the adults were in the pool at the same time. It was just like a
response for escaping the very hot sun for a moment. Swimming the cool
waters took a little time because of the length and width of the pool.
To lazily take one's time reaching across the space with slow pulling
strokes made the swim most enjoyable.
D'Ann for some reason left the children's
pool. Like a playing of film in slow motion it was if all the adults had
their eyes on her at the same time. It felt like they knew what she was
going to do but was hoping it wouldn't happen. She skipped along the
edge of the large adult's pool going farther and farther away from them.
What was possessing her as to her thinking? No one of their group was on
the other side of the pool. Was she just fascinated with the long edge
of it and intrigued with walking and balancing along this edge? Did she
think the water was a shallow as the smaller pool and was not worried
with the danger?
Her aunt looked in the direction of
D'Ann's father. His expression was one to show his mind was filled with
the same thoughts she herself had. At that time D'Ann's mother was
calling to her. However, the noise of the people in the pool and the
distance along with the mother's very soft voice caused the call to go
unheard. The mother was not a strong swimmer. In those few moments D'Ann
aunt was trying to see a way out for the little girl. Maybe she would
not go into the water after all. Maybe she was simply skipping along the
In an instant the child was into the deep
water. She went all the way to the bottom and back up. Her aunt could
see from the surprised expression on the little girl's face she had not
expected the water to be so deep. "Help," she began to cry and
gulp at the water at the same time.
The water was about waist deep where her
aunt was and she began to try to walk across the area, only to realize
there was no moving quickly enough. As she began to stroke and stroke
hard the little girl's cries were desperate. The most helpless feeling
came over the woman as she could not seem to cover the space as rapidly
as she needed to in order to close the gap between her and the child.
She could see her brother stroking across the water ahead of her.
Surely, one of them could get to D'Ann. If the child could swim she had
lost her ability to do so and was in a state of panic. As she went under
the water so completely it was certainly the most terrifying thing for
the girl. There was no thinking. It was just a pushing, desperate
slamming across the water to get to the child.
As quickly as the thing had happened it
was ended in the most wonderfully absurd way possible. One of the guests
at the side of the pool where the little girl had jumped, walked down
the steps, fully clothed. He didn't even bother to kick off his shoes.
He simply walked the short distance he was from D'Ann, reached down for
her arm and pulled her to the surface.
If there is anything to sum up the
personalities of Texas men here it was. Their's is a culture and a
mystique so rare and special. They can simply do the bravest most heroic
things with such an ease and sureness one can never believe a problem
can be so simply solved.