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The Black People Are Getting Into The Water?! The Black People Are Getting Into The Water?!
by Leah Sellers
2015-06-21 11:42:20
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“Yippee !  It’s Splash Day !  I love Splash Days, Mom, because it’s so unbearably hot outside.  And I love spending time with Cousin Pam and Cousin Fred, and Uncle Bubba and Aunt Dot !”  Cheyenne announced delightedly.
 
“I’m so glad, honey.  Now, you and Marie run upstairs and get your swim suits on.  Remember your beach towels, and we’ll get everything loaded up and ready to go,”  Mom said.
 
The drive from northwest Houston to Bellaire-Houston was a quick one hour ordeal through heavy Saturday morning traffic.  But Cheyenne and Marie bubbled with conversation and expectations in the back seat of the Pontiac Bonneville, while their mom and dad discussed things that needed to get done throughout the upcoming week.
 
Finally, they arrived at the Bellaire-Houston Public City Pool.
 
“Alright girls, here’s your money for the Pool and soft drinks.  We’ll be back to pick all of you up in a couple of hours with your Uncle Bubba and your Aunt Dot.  Then we‘ll all go out somewhere for lunch,”  Daddy said.
 
The Girls gave their Parents a Hug, and then bounced out of the car and into the Pool House.
 
pool01_400Cheyenne and Marie, slipped out of their shirts and shorts revealing their brand new, navy blue, whole piece bathing suits beneath.  They grabbed their beach towels and clothes, and crammed them into nearby lockers.  Dashed under the cold water showers on their way out to the Pool, and trotted into the large Pool area looking for their Cousins, Pam and Fred.
 
“Wheet !  Wheet !”  The shrill whistle startled both Girls.  The bland-faced, well tanned male Life Guard was pointing straight at Cheyenne and Marie.  “Walk, do not run around the Pool.  You could slip and fall.”
 
“Yes sir.  We’re sorry,”  Cheyenne said quickly, taking her younger Sister’s hand.  “Look, Marie, Pam and Fred are over by the diving board.  Come on, let’s go join them.”
 
Cheyenne and Marie walked very slowly and carefully to the end of the Olympic sized Public Pool, occasionally eye-balling the Life Guard who had embarrassingly chastised them.  When they arrived at the diving board, they gave their smiling Cousins big Hugs.
 
“It’s so good to see y’all,” Cheyenne said enthusiastically.
 
Fred climbed up the Pool ladder, and out of the Pool, dripping wet and smiling broadly.  “Hey Girls !  Let me show y’all how to do the Cannonball Express !”
 
Fred ran to the back of the line of Children waiting their turn to jump off of the diving board.
 
“Okay, we’ll watch you first, Fred.  And then we’ll get in line to jump in,”  Cheyenne said cheerfully.
 
“Yeah, and then I’ll show you how to do a Belly Flop !”  Mare said laughing out loud.
 
“Ha !  Ha !  Yeah, that’s one we all know how to do,”  Cousin Pam added.
 
The three Girls laughed and talked about what a relief it was that school was out for the Summer, and what they’d been up to since their last Splash Day !  Fun Day ! together, just one week ago.  And how they all wished that they could get together more often.
 
“Look, Cheyenne !  Marie !  Pam !  Watch me !”  Fred shouted as he ran to the end of the diving board, curled his body into a tight ball in midair, and hit the water with a huge splash.
 
“That was great, Fred !  You almost emptied all of the water out of the Pool !”  Cheyenne exclaimed.
 
Fred sputtered and sprang back up the Pool ladder, and got back into line to dive again with his sister, Pam, and his two Cousins.
 
All four Children jumped off the diving board performing and experimenting with different dives for quite awhile.
 
“Wooo !  I need a break.  How about y’all,”  Pam asked ?  The diving board line is getting too long.  Let’s hop into the water and play Leakin’ Lena !”
 
The four Cousins swam down to a more shallow area of the Pool.  They formed a circle in the water, and then smiling mischievously at one another they all shouted, “One !  Two ! Three !  Leakin‘ Lena !” And then all four Children dove into the water, straight down to the floor of the Pool and performed handstands.
 
Cheyenne was the first to come back up.  She had never really been very adept at handstands, even though it was easier to do them in the water.
 
Then Pam popped up.  Then Marie.  Then Cousin Fred shot up out of the water like a cork, jubilantly yelling, “Leakin’ Lena !  I win !  Ha !  Ha !”
 
They all laughed, teased and congratulated Fred for being the last to go down with the Leakin’ Lena, and talked about how much the chlorine in the Pool water burned their eyes and their nostrils, especially when they stood upside down on the Pool’s bottom.
 
Suddenly Cousin Pam stopped laughing, and got a funny, guarded expression on her face.  “Look y’all.  Over there.  It’s Black People.  What are they doing here ?”
 
All four Cousins turned their attentions to where Cousin Pam was pointing.  Sure enough it was a Black Family.  Two adults, that looked like a Mom and Dad, and two girls and two boys.
 
Cheyenne said, “So ?  What’s wrong with that ?  Mrs. Lorena takes me and Marie to the Public City Pool out by our home all of time.  She’s always teasing Marie and me about staying out in the sun too long and getting as brown as she is.”
 
“Your Mrs. Lorena is a light colored Black Lady, but y’all could never get as brown as her,”  Pam said shortly.
 
“I know that, and Mrs. Lorena knows that.  She’s a Smart Lady.  It’s a joke, Pam.  Golly !  Where’s your sense of humor ?”  Cheyenne asked.
 
“Mrs. Lorena is the best housekeeper and nanny we’ve ever had.  We love Mrs. Lorena, don‘t we Cheyenne,”  Marie chimed in.
 
“Yes, we do love Mrs. Lorena, and she’s the only housekeeper and nanny we’ve ever had or ever known, Marie,”  Cheyenne grinned.  “You’re so goofy sometimes.”
 
“I am not goofy.  You’re goofy !”  The younger Marie retorted defensively.
 
“You’re right.  I’m sorry for hurting your feelings, Marie.  We’re all goofy sometimes,”  Cheyenne said apologetically.
“Yeah, but some of us are goofier more often than others, ha !”  Cousin Fred added.
 
“I hope they don’t get into the water,”  Pam said curtly.
 
“Right, Pam.  They’re gonna’ come to the Swimming Pool on a hot Summer’s day, and not go swimming.  How much sense does that make ?”  Cheyenne asked sarcastically.
 
“Now, who’s being goofy ?”  Marie asked lightly.
 
Pam’s eyes got wide and she said, “Look.  They’re jumping into the water, y’all.”
 
All four Cousins watched the Black Children jump ecstatically into the Pool, and begin to play.
 
“I’m not staying in this Pool.  I’m calling Mom and Dad and telling them to come pick us up early,”  Cousin Pam said as she hurriedly climbed out of the water.  “Fred, you better get out of that Pool, too, if you know what’s good for you.”
 
“Are you kidding, Pam ?”  Cheyenne asked, surprised.  She did not understand her Cousin’s response.
 
“No, I’m not kidding.  I’m not swimming with Black People.  And my Daddy won’t like this either.  And neither will yours, Cheyenne and Marie.  Y’all better get out of that water and wait with Fred and I up front for them to come and get us,”  Cousin Pam said agitatedly.
 
“I’m not gonna’ do that, Pam.  And neither is Marie.  Come on, Marie.  We’re gonna’ go talk to the Black Kids,”  Cheyenne announced defiantly.
 
Marie looked like a deer caught in oncoming headlights, but was used to following her Big Sister around everywhere.  She said nothing, but began to swim after Cheyenne toward the Black People.
 
Cheyenne and Marie stopped at the side of the Pool, and hung onto the concrete and tiled lip that jutted out toward their grasping hands.
 
Cheyenne noticed that some other Children had also moved over to a different area of the pool, but not all.
 
“Hi, my name is, Cheyenne.  What’s yours ?’  Cheyenne asked of one of the Black Girls that looked closest to her age.
 
“Hi, my name’s, Clarisse.  And this is my little Sister, Anna, and my two Brothers, Clifford and Andrew,” Clarisse answered smiling uncertainly.
 
“Hi y’all.  And this is my little Sister, Marie,”  Cheyenne offered, smiling just as uncertainly.
 
“I’m not little.  I am almost as tall as you, Cheyenne,”  Marie retorted.
 
“Ha !  I know how you feel, Marie.  My Big Sister is always telling everybody I’m her Little Sister, and I hate it.  Besides, I may be younger than she is, but I’m already taller than she is.  Clarisse is the shrimp of the Family,”  Anna said grinning widely.
 
All Six Children laughed together, easing much of the awkwardness that may have existed between them before.
 
“I can’t help it if I got the short, shrimpy genes of the Family, Anna,”  Clarisse giggled.
“I’m gonna’ start calling you Shrimpy, Clarisse,”  Andrew said laughing, and ducking Clarisse unexpectedly under the water.
 
Clarisse bobbed back up immediately.  Wiping water out of her eyes and coughing, she exclaimed,  “You just wait ’til I get my hands on you, Andrew !”  And Clarisse lunged toward her Brother who paddled away from her like a startled crawdad.
 
“Cheyenne !  Marie !  You Girls get out of that water, right now !  Come on !  We’ve got to get going,”  a large, gruff baritone voice cut through the Children’s laughter and carried out across the Public Pool.
 
“Come on !  Get out of that water, now.  Let’s find your clothes and get a move on,”  Cheyenne and Marie’s Daddy repeated.  Their Mother stood silent and withdrawn beside her husband.
 
“But daddy, it’s not time yet.  We’re supposed to have two whole hours in the water.  We’ve only been here a little over an hour.  The Pool clock says so,”  Cheyenne said pointing over toward the Pool Buildings clock.
 
“You heard what I said, Cheyenne.  You mind me now, and get out of that water right now, before I come in there after you and pull you out.  It’s time for us to go,”  Cheyenne and Marie’s Daddy demanded.
 
“It was nice meeting y’all, Clarisse, Anna, Andrew and Clifford,”  Cheyenne said to the Black Children looking on in bewilderment.
 
“I said now, young lady.  And I mean now,”  Cheyenne and Marie’s Daddy said in a quiet, ferocious tone.
 
Both Cheyenne and Marie swam to the shallow end of the pool, without another word, and slowly climbed out.
Cheyenne and Marie’s Daddy grabbed both of their arms and led them inside the Pool Building.
 
“You Girls get showered.  Get those wet suits off and your play clothes on.  And do not dawdle.  I’m giving you ten minutes.  No longer.  We’ll wait for you out front,”  Cheyenne and Marie’s Daddy insisted.
 
“Yes, Daddy,”  Both girls answered simultaneously.
 
Cheyenne and Marie quickly showered and changed into their dry clothes at break neck speed.
 
When Cheyenne and Marie walked out to the front of the Pool Building, they were met by their Dad and Mom, Uncle Bubba and Aunt Dot, and Cousins Pam and Fred.  No one looked very happy. 
 
So much for Splash Day !  Fun Day !  Cheyenne thought to herself.
 
“Alright Girls, hop into the car.  We’re all going to eat out at Landry’s Seafood Restaurant for lunch.  We’re going to follow your Uncle Bubba over there,”  Cheyenne and Marie’s Daddy explained.
 
“Yes sir, Daddy,”  Cheyenne said.
 
“Yes sir, Daddy,”  Marie repeated.
 
When Cheyenne and Marie’s Daddy pulled the Pontiac out of the parking lot, he looked sternly into the rearview mirror and asked, “What were you Girls thinking of ?  Why didn’t you get out of the Pool with your Cousins, Pam and Fred ?”
 
“Because it wasn’t time to get out yet, Daddy.  And Pam was being mean about the Black Family.  So, we let Pam and Fred leave without us.  Then we went over to the Black Children to introduce ourselves, and help them feel more comfortable at the Pool, because some of the other people were being just as rude as Pam and Fred were toward them,”  Cheyenne explained.
 
“Your Cousins were not being rude, Cheyenne.  They did what was right.  They did what was expected of them,”  Cheyenne and Marie’s Daddy said accusatorily.
 
“Daddy, I didn’t want to go over to the Black People.  Cheyenne made me,”  Marie cried out plaintively.
 
“Cheyenne, why are you always doing things to embarrass me and this family ?”  Cheyenne and Marie’s Daddy asked angrily.
 
“But Daddy,”  Cheyenne answered, “ I was just being friendly.  I was just being a good Christian.  I was doing what Christ teaches us to do.  I…”
 
“You shut your mouth, young lady.  Don’t you back talk me.  You just wait ’til we get home,”  Cheyenne and Marie’s Daddy said threateningly.
 
“Yes sir, I’m sorry, Daddy.  But what’s so wrong with us swimming with Clarisse, Anna, Andrew and Clifford ?  They were really nice, and…”
 
“Because you don’t know what germs they’re carrying,
Cheyenne !”  Cheyenne and Marie’s Daddy interrupted.
 
“But, Daddy, they have to shower before they can get into the Pool, just like everyone else,”  Cheyenne said.
 
“Are you back talking me again, young lady ?  Cheyenne and Marie’s Daddy roared.  “You want me to pull this car over and beat you within an inch of your life ?”
 
“No sir,”  Cheyenne said, bursting into tears.
 
Marie began crying, too.
 
Cheyenne and Marie’s Mom turned toward Cheyenne and Marie’s Daddy and quietly said,  “LeMoyne, please.”
 
“As long as you live under my roof, you will do things my way !  If I tell you to jump 10 feet high, you’ll do it !  Am I understood ?”  Cheyenne and Marie’s Daddy shouted.
 
“Yes sir.”  Cheyenne answered quickly, tasting her hot, salty tears.  “I’m sorry, Daddy.  I didn’t mean to make you mad.  I didn’t mean to embarrass you or disobey you.  I thought I was doing the right thing, but I understand now that as long as I’m living under your roof that it is the wrong thing to do.  I promise not to do it again.”
 
“Are you sassing me again, young lady ?”  Cheyenne and Marie’s Daddy asked harshly.
 
“No sir.  I’m only trying to say and do what you want me to, Daddy.  I don’t want a whipping when we get back home,”  Cheyenne answered pleadingly.
 
“Sometimes, I think that’s the only language you understand, Cheyenne.  You are such a belligerent Hard Head.  And you stop dragging your Baby sister into your wrong-headed escapades.  You understand me ?”  Cheyenne and Marie’s Daddy asked roughly.
 
“Yes sir, I do.  I really do, Daddy,”  Cheyenne answered.
 
“Good.  Then that’s and end to it.  Now, you girls dry your eyes.  We’re almost at the restaurant,”  Cheyenne and Marie’s Daddy said perfunctorily.
 
And that was the very last Splash Day !  Fun Day ! That Cheyenne and Marie ever spent at the Bellaire-Houston Public City Pool with their two Cousins or anyone else for that matter.


      
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