On July 24th.. we meet some neighbors and delivered cookies in honor of dad. One of the neighbors we met that day told us about this indoor pool in Lurvern, MN. I remembered thinking that would be a fun thing to do in the winter months. Growing up swimming was a huge part of the Wilken past time and when we couldn’t swim in the lakes, during the winter we swam at the indoor community pool. It was a huge Olympic size pool. Our family would go their routinely on Sunday nights and even on some weekdays. It is a powerful memory from my childhood. Dad would swim with us for hours. We would play on the big floating blue mats or on the tubes. We would jump and dive from the diving boards. We swam and swam and swam.
When I heard about this pool in Lurvern I knew our kids would love it. When we arrived it had the same Olympic size pool and unbelievably they still make those huge floating blue mats. There were some different features that we enjoyed (a wading pool and some slides). But it definitely brought me back to my childhood. It is always surreal when you start doing something with your own family that you did as a child. I loved bringing the girls and Leeland swimming on Sunday. There was minimal fighting, energy burned, and we had fun watching families have fun.
Of course in places like these I always hear dad’s voice and think of him. It’s always a little weird to start tearing up at a pool. But grief always pops up when you least except it. He would have loved to hear about the Maloney’s trip to the pool. He would have asked about the whole facility and everything that was there, in great detail. He would have loved that it was close to our home and that it was pretty inexpensive. I could have even imagined him striking up a conversation with one of the lifeguards. He would have probably even planned a play date to meet us at the pool next time he and mom would come to Sioux Falls. Being a farmer he didn’t always have a lot of time in the summer to play but winter he spent countless hours swimming at the pool with his family. Dad loved swimming but I think more than that he loved his family and like to spend time together.
So now the Maloney’s have a newish tradition of going to the Lurvern pool on some Sundays (or maybe even on the weekdays if it is a long winter). I’m sure that it’s won’t be the last time I cry at the pool. However, I will always get a smile on my face when I walk into a building, smell the chorine, see the pool and think of my dad.