Thursday, July 27, 2006

Mennonites at the cement pond

We usually try to avoid the local aquatic center during weekends as the crowds can get to Disneyland levels.

Last Sunday, the girls were clamoring for a swim, so I relented, tucked as much of my gut as would fit into my swim trunks and took them to the pool.

We faced the usual crowds and then some.

But there was something quite different about one particular grouping of the crowd. Much different.

The men were playing a game of modified netless volleyball/waterpolo with oversized beach balls in the 4-foot deep section of the lap pool. They were all lean and tall, softly muscular, with the worst farmer tans I've ever seen. Strangely, their tan lines ended at their wrists and buttoned-up collar neckline -- like what you would get if you wore a three-piece suit to a 14-day straight tanning booth-o-rama.

A group of younger women, all wearing black head scarves that looked like fancy doo-rags with flowers embroidered on them, waded and floated nearby the men.

An older group of women donning the same black/embroidered doo rags, sat with perfect posture, quiet reserve, and not one apparent lick of envy for their pool bound partners.

Some further observations...

Apparently only the single, or unmarried females could partake of the wet and wild activities. And even then they had to wear their head scarves, black short pants (barely shorts, more like clam diggers), with a double layer of cotton t-shirts on top.

The men and boys all wore shorts pants as well. Black or khaki. Most of which tended to pull a little too far southward due to their high retention factor of the wetstuff.

Talking with strangers appeared to not be a priority on their agenda.

Not a one of them could swim. The teens all wore inflatable tubes around their waists. The men stayed it the 4-foot deep shallows. They all stayed way clear of the diving boards and 12-foot deep diving well.

I titled this entry as I did, under the assumption that this group of interesting and polite Sunday-go-to-pool splashers were from the nearby Mennonite enclave I know exists in the area.

But I may be wrong and way off base as to their origins, their nationality, and their cultural beliefs.

But I do know this. The non-waders seemed content in their place, the waders were having a ball, the youngsters were polite, and as a group they were picture perfect public pool participants.

On a personal note, I do believe they could benefit from a little dipping into a different type of pool...the gene type. It's a good thing beauty is only skin deep.

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