Bare Butt Beach
Bare Butt Beach

Bare Butt Beach were the descriptive words my young friends and I used to identify our version of the old swimming hole. Why we would prefer this spring fed stock dam over the clean, chlorine treated water at the pool in town was known only to boys in a certain age group. The city-operated pool also came with a pretty lifeguard who watched our every move while we watched her every move.  Although we matured and moved on, the young boys who followed us still had a crush on the pretty lifeguards.

One of the requirements of being allowed to swim in the deep end of the town pool was to prove you had the skill and stamina to swim across the pool and back. The distance could be a challenge to a skinny kid, but the respect received from the gang made the effort worthwhile. At Bare Butt Beach there were no rules and nobody cared if you peed in the water. Letting the mud ooze between your toes made the long walk through the field seem effortless when we reached our almost-secret place.

On the way to our swimming-in-the-buff paradise, we passed a bunch of trees known as "Handkerchief Grove". It was a mystery to many young boys as to how it became known by that name. We asked our older friends and siblings, and they smiled and nodded knowingly but didn't answer our question. Our imaginations ran wild as we made up our own versions of how this stand of living wood became known as "Handkerchief Grove". I can still entertain myself by dreaming up a reason for naming this familiar landmark after a square cloth used to keep ones nose clean. I don't think any living person knows the truth -- or do they?

I still have a crush on one of the lifeguards.

2004 - Maurice Karst
Oil painting "Swimming Hole" by Walter Holtzman