106 degrees. I will go with 98 degrees as well. 89 degrees is perilously close to no swim time. I like it hot…blistering hot. I love swim time. My life growing up in Southern California was replete with opportunities to swim. Our family did not have a swimming pool in the backyard. Instead, I was invited to join in the pool fun at the homes of a couple of neighbors. Ate it up.

When I wasn’t enjoying myself in somebody’s pool, I was at the beach. Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, wherever our bikes could travel, or on rare occasion, when a girlfriend had a car to take us there. Hot sand, baby oil, towels, and we were set. Surf shack nachos, quite the delicacy. A very good friend of mine, Tina, had her own bicycle which matched mine. For one entire summer, each week, she and I rode bikes from our Garden Grove neighborhood to Seal Beach, eight miles, one way. We hit the streets at 9:00 a.m. And didn’t return home till 5:00 p.m. Scorched, burnt sienna red, we repeated this routine until Labor Day. My face was so dark when the yearbook pictures were taken, I was nearly unrecognizable. So, I had options. The pools or the beach. I guess a pool is just more convenient. No bicycling.

I come full circle. Now, I do not frequent the beach. Too far inland for that. But, oh! What a shift of good fortune! I have enjoyed our backyard pool for 20 summers now.  It is a 1970 pool. That’s about the same time my neighbors were putting pools in their yards back in Garden Grove.

We have extended invitations to our neighbors to join us in our pool. They have taken us up on the offer. After all, it is 106 degrees.

Did you know that swimming is considered the all-around best form of exercise? No jarring impact to the knees. Buoyed by the water, we are free to move in any number  of strokes for healthy exercise. Having water available to me for at least 5 months at poolside is the definition of summer contentment. My oldest son and I represent the strong swimmers in the family. We compete diving and swimming to the opposite end…he wins. My 22-month old grandson is making the water a friendly place as his dad holds him close for comfort. Whatever the summer high may be, we treat ourselves. Poolside.

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