Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Everybody in the pool

LAS CRUCES >> Before the rains finally came this month, when the West was parched and many parts of the country were flooding, Edie had a great idea.
Instead of oil pipelines, we should be building transcontinental water pipelines, she suggested.
It struck me as a brilliant concept, with far more long-term benefits and fewer eco-disaster potentials than the oil pipelines, and a much better place to invest our billions. Yes, there will be challenges, but we'll be able to work them out.
And we can start the process at my favorite local think tank, the Las Cruces pool where I've been swimming laps for almost two decades.
Prophet-psychic-philosophers Tenny Hale and Edgar Cayce have noted that it's easier to find great truths and come up with profound ideas around bodies of water, and I thing they're right, whether the watery body is an ocean, a great lake, a mighty river, or even a modest little swimming pool in Las Cruces, N,M,
In recent decades, I've written several of my best columns while doing the crawl or backstroke, and gotten some of my best ideas for news stories and features from a serendipitous group of poolmates who have become my friends.
There's something about chilling out in the pool, or burning off some of our aches and pains in the nearby whirlpool, that encourages instant intimacy. There's a tendency to share life stories, secrets of the universe and solutions to the problems of the world with people whose last names you've never gotten around to learning.
That we know first names, in fact, is mostly due to Becky, our de facto pool social director and CEO. From the onset, she established a tradition that always reminds me of the friendly "NORM!" shout-outs in the "CHEERS" sitcom. When Becky is in the house - or the pool - no soul goes ungreeted or leaves without an enthusiastic good-bye.
Professionally, she's a long-time mental health guru who has counseled everyone from high school kids to adults in crisis. As a volunteer she founded a rape victim therapy group and numerous community service outreach programs. She's one of a couple of counselors and mental health practitioners who seem to often turn up in the deep end when I'm doing my post-swim cool-downs or stretches, and these compassionate and very smart people offer some amazing insights on the state of our health. They're more tuned in to societal trends than any online site I've been able to find.
With their guidance, the pool think tank amigos are often able to sense problems and make sense of daunting issues long before they make headlines. And when disasters hit - locally, nationally or globally - it seems one of us has been there first, and has some ideas about solutions and best ways to cope.
The think tank regulars are a motley group.
Leslie and Aurora. Delores and Mark... There are a few mom and daughter teams who come regularly, at least one dad and son and one mom and son show up several times a week to float, swim, or do a few stretches and water aerobics while we solve the problems of the world, share tips about the best doctors in town, lend an occasional book, discuss favorite TV shows, and even organize the occasional field trip to the finest regional green chile sources.
Some regulars are famous for their derring-do acts and aquatic achievements,There's Tsunami Rudy, the Butterfly champ of the pool, and Cannon Ball Ray (I knew him before our think tank days as a Sun-News pressman, now retired). Some connections are even more remarkable, even in New Mexico, land of synchronicity. I discovered that our think tank's other Mark, for instance, used to work at Continental Motors in Muskegon, Mich., around the time my dad was an aircraft engineer there. We haven't established that they ever met, but Mark mentioned a few names I recognized from dad's nightly post-work recap monologues.
I swam laps for years beside Stan before I learned about his occupation, the death of his wife after a long illness, and his happy remarriage.
But eventually, we all seem to manage to catch up on everybody's lives and share experiences and wisdom about our duties on the front lines of the caretaker generation. We keep up on the trials and triumphs of kids, grandkids, parents and one another. We miss members when, like Michael L,, they defect to other pools, or leave this earthly plane to float in the great hereafter.
In our little pool, opinions, hypotheses, questions and sometimes, amazingly creative answers and solutions float freely over the chorinated waters.
We may not always agree on everything or some days, anything, except, in recent years, that congress is dysfunctional. Maybe they should consult us, a diverse, compassionate, funny, multigenrational group with some original ideas. What's your problem? We just might have the answer.
Everybody in the pool.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at 575-541-5450.

Derrickson Moore
Features Reporter
Las Cruces Sun-News
256 W Las Cruces Ave
Las Cruces, NM 88005

Phone: (575) 541-5450
Web: http://www.lcsun-news.com  

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