My Hero and The Old Swimming Hole

We had a creek that ran from one end of our little town to the other and there was a concrete bridge at one point where the creek crossed the highway. Under the bridge, the water was the deepest and that was our swimming hole, as we called it back in the late thirties and early forties.

When I was just a small child and not allowed to go there without someone with me, I had a very special friend who was in her mid teens and she always came and got me to go swimming. Her name was Ellen Ruth and I loved her so much. I thought she was so beautiful and so kind and I think she really loved me too. When I had a loose tooth, I wouldnít let anyone but Ellen Ruth pull it for me. She pulled quite a few of my baby teeth. She tied a string around the tooth and tied the other end to the door knob, making a game of it and then slammed the door. Out came my tooth and then she fixed some warm salt water for me to rinse my mouth. I trusted her completely and I loved all the attention she gave me and thought I was very special for someone her age to "Hang around" with someone as young as me. She did have a lot of friends her own age and when we went swimming, there were always about six other girls her age. Of course I knew them all and some had sisters my age that they brought along. Ellen Ruth was an only child and maybe thatís one reason she took to me because her friends all had little sisters and she didnít.

Now the swimming hole was not very large and when the girls decided to go swimming, there were always boys that just happened along to go swimming also and it got a little crowded.

It was really a nice place to swim as it was shaded under the bridge and when the hot summer sun was beaming down, there was no chance of a sunburn and the water was so cool and refreshing.

There was what they called a "step off" in the creek. If you went out too far, you stepped off into a deeper part of the water. I didnít swim so I always stayed up close to the bank but I remember when I was about seven or eight I got brave and went farther than usual and stepped off into the deep part and went under. Right away, a hand came down and lifted me up. It was Ellen Ruthís. My hero. I was so frightened and held on to her for dear life. After that I never left the bank and to this day, I donít know how to swim, I never cared to learn.

Someone sent me an email that asked, " How did we survive back in the thirties and forties?" I  thought, that was a very good question and it made me think of the old swimming hole.

When I think of all the modern conveniences we have today, I really wonder. How did we survive? I believe it was by the grace of God.

Also, thereís an email that circulates called, A Reason, a Season or a Lifetime. This makes me think of Ellen Ruth and how she was in my life for a reason, Iím sure, and only a season, but she made a lifetime impression.

It was by the grace of God that my hero was there to reach down and lift me up, saving my life.

It was by the grace of God that a few years later, Jesus reached down and lifted me up, saving my soul and I have held on to Him for dear life.

Iím so thankful for Ellen Ruth being in my life. I will never forget her.

Iím even more thankful for Jesus being in my life. He is my true hero. He is in my life for a reason, has been in my life through all the seasons and will remain for my lifetime. He is how I have survived.

By Lora Cox ©2003