While perusing post ideas for tonight’s blog entry, my husband lovingly reminded me of another unique aspect of my childhood – the “swimming pool” that we had in our back yard when I was a young child. My father was a trial attorney, which meant we were not allowed to have cool stuff like trampolines and swimming pools. His reply was always “Someone is going to come over when we’re not home, hurt themselves and sue us.” That put a damper on any fun we were ever allowed to have (although my mother did finally rebel and buy us a trampoline – I’ll post that story later).
One of the staples of my childhood was the backyard “swimming pool” that somehow passed my father’s rule of not opening us up to liability. It was an old syrup kettle that was re purposed into a child-sized swimming pool and placed in our backyard. Perhaps you could consider it the Cajun version of an above ground pool. It was about 3 feet deep and 5-6 feet in diameter and was riveted together. Much like the syrup kettle pictured below.
The inside was painted a nice, light blue – I suppose to resemble the ocean – and I think we had a ladder to climb in and out of it. The kettle was on bricks about 6 inches from the ground. There was a cork/stopper to hold the water in the kettle and we’d fill it up with our garden hose. The inside gave us plenty of opportunities to test out the effectiveness of our tetnaus shot – lots of sharp and rusty edges. Stubbed toes were another benefit of recreating in this unique water feature in addition to ice cold water from the garden hose.
Not to be outdone, we also had a second syrup kettle that served as a decorative water feature. This one was closer to the house and was home to a school of basic Wal-Mart goldfish. It was right off of the patio – perfect breeding ground for mosquitos, I am sure. That kettle resembled the traditional, one piece solid cast iron design that you see in most syrup kettles, which grace the landscape of many homes in the Southern region of the United States.
I remember many a sunny summer afternoon spent swimming around in circles in that rusty old syrup kettle. After a few times running in circles, we’d get a nice “tornado-like” current going and then we’d turn and run in the other direction. Oh what fun little Cajun kids could conjure up in a silly old syrup kettle.
Luckily, the neighbors had a real in-ground pool and we’d occasionally go over there to swim, but that silly old syrup kettle provided many years of fun me and my friends of the small town of Washington, Louisiana.