Smelly Socks: The dog days of summer

July 31, 2014 at 2:31 a.m.

"Oh, baby, it's hot outside," my animated 13-year-old, Austin, smartly sums up the steamy weather. This is your typical, can't-walk-barefoot-on-the-hot-sidewalk-your-feet-sticking-to-oozing-asphalt-and-two-overly-excited-boys-wanting-to-try-frying-eggs-on-our-driveway kind of hot.

Earlier this year, when everyone was complaining about how cold it was and that winter was just lingering, this longtime Texan kept her mouth closed tight. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the cool weather while it lasted, and I actually seemed to soak up the chill. I have been through too many long, hot summers to know that you don't speak negatively about a reprieve from the scorching summer temperatures.

The only thing that seems to pacify both of my children during the summer heat is their delight and enthusiasm for jumping in a cold pool of water., in other words, a swimming pool My boys are true water babies, and my youngest son, Jamison, would live in water if he could. Austin, the typical older brother, also enjoys a good, refreshing swim. But lately, it is the scenery of the other swimmers - especially young female swimmers - which he has become much more interested in.

When Jamison was a baby, he loved the water as long as he was held firmly in my arms, safe and secure. At a very young age, Austin and Jamison were enrolled in requisite swimming lessons, so they could safely escape from the Texas heat. With both sets of grandparents having a pool, it was simply a matter of necessity for them to be strong swimmers.

Austin was a fish from the beginning - a natural completely comfortable in the water. He was soon doing flips off the diving board and having races with John that Austin fairly won. His long, thin frame just cuts through the water, and he is certainly in his element. Everyone seems to admire his stroke and my oldest eats up the attention.

Jamison got off to a rockier start. During his first set of swimming lessons, Jamison screamed the whole time: "I want my momma. I want my momma." His very experienced and patient swimming instructor, Mr. Hackney, proved his worth and endured two solid weeks of this constant bellowing for his momma. Coach Hackney did compliment me on his set of strong lungs, "which will be good for swimming when he finally gets it."

After about two days of the bellowing, his fellow swimmers had enough. In unison all of the 2- and 3-year-olds all started crying for their mommas also. All of the other parents couldn't seem to understand why their kids were all hollering for them and had never said a word before. That seemed to make me an extremely popular parent as Jamison displayed impressive powers of suggestion and exceptional leadership abilities.

Shortly after his first swimming lesson session, Jamison had a routine eye exam at Victoria Family Eye Center with Dr. Amy Henry and Dr. Amy Kirkpatrick discovering he needed glasses in the worst way.

We chalked all of this "wanting his momma" drama up to not being able to see very well. Jamison's next round of swimming lessons had him running straight into the pool area and jumping into the water without fear. He has never looked back and now he is always begging us to go swimming.He doesn't play pool games, no "Marco Polo" for him. He just likes floating in the water with his favorite goggles, as he soaks up the sun's rays in the comfort of cool water.

We have a neighbor with a pool that we get to visit and enjoy often, and we always take the boys to the beach or Blue Hole to enjoy some water time. No family trip to Virginia Beach is complete without visiting the beautiful Virginia beaches, Grandma and Grandpa's pool, and the various waterparks that are everywhere.

So it is fair to say that my boys enjoy the water and realize that in this intense summer heat, there is nothing quite as refreshing. They have also given us much grief about installing a pool for them at the ranch, although I worry about all of the snakes that would also find a pool in the middle of a ranch very inviting.

Recently, Jamison was visiting with his Mimi. I overheard him telling her that when he grows up he wants to live on an island. He continues his explanation by saying that the only way to get to his future house will be by boat. Mimi gave me a quizzical look, and with a wink, she told him that he couldn't possibly move to an island because that is just too far from the ranch and we would all miss him too much.

Jamison's eyes narrowed slightly, and he suddenly got very serious and replied with, "Well then, Mimi, you are just going to have to build me a swimming pool." With that simple statement, he took off on his four-wheeler with a white, caliche cloud trailing behind him as he headed off to the fish pond to connect with any sort of water he could find.

Johanna is a proud seventh-generation Texan. She lives on her family's South Texas ranch with her husband and two lively boys. Email Johanna Bloom at or visit her blog at



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