Swim offers travel back in time

By Clyde Davis: CNJ columnist

First, I need to make an update on the domestic violence bike ride. I’ve been in contact with a number of local riders and the final plan goes like this. In order to go in conjunction with Hartley House events at Clovis Community College (fun run and walk against domestic violence), we will also be meeting at CCC walking track at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 11 for the ride.

The route will be from CCC to Ned Houk Park, an optional lap of the park, and back to CCC. That totals slightly more than 20 miles, if you choose to lap the park. There are forms that should be picked up at Hartley House business office on Main Street, and pledge is $15. The reasons have to do with safety and using logistical support that’s already in place (something I guess I learned in the Army.)

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I would like to state, at the outset, that I spent 50 minutes in the motel pool on Sunday evening, and another half hour on Monday morning, before going to a meeting in Albuquerque. I am stating that, lest anyone should call me a sissy for the rest of this column.

It was swimming at its primitive best, conjuring up images when Phys Ed was known as “Physical Culture.” In this up-to-date Albuquerque motel, descending the stairs into a semi-basement, I felt as if I were going back in time. Far from being a complaint, it was an experience.

No pool lights, and no lights in the center of the ceiling. The only available lumination was provided by fluorescent fixtures, which rimmed the outside wall of the grayish white swimming area. No fancy fake blue vinyl walls, this pool was lined with good old gray waterproof painted cement.

To use the word “brisk” for the water, which poured from the nozzles located in each wall, would be a euphemism. Let’s be honest, it was cold. Earlier that day I’d driven by the Blue Hole, and the pool water was colder than that. Probably somewhere in the upper 60s, as far as temperature goes.

Cold doesn’t bother me. I am someone who has gone into Lake Erie in October, just for fun. What made this an experience was that atmospheric gift of being back in time, say the 1930s, or as I imagine they may have been, when this was swimming.

Give me credit for some intelligence. I know that pool did not date from the ’30s. I know that motel has not been there that long, and I doubt that part of Albuquerque even existed in that time. What I am describing is a gut-level response.

It is the gut-level response of leather football helmets, heavy wooden ballbats, wooden tennis rackets and golf clubs with real wooden heads; like I said, it was a feeling redolent of a time and place where PE class was known as physical culture.

While I took my brisk swim, a number of people came in, believing that they wished to get in the water, and left mumbling, after wetting only their toes. I just smiled to myself, each time this happened. Truth was, I wasn’t just exercising, I was solving the age-old dilemma of time travel. My imagination had taken me back 70 years, without ever leaving Albuquerque. Now, isn’t brisk water a small price to pay for that?