Growing up in a small town meant that our summertime fun choices were pretty limited. There was no water park, our regular park was pitiful, and there aren't but so many trips to the library you can make. Thankfully my friends and I were lucky enough that our parents were members at Maccripine Country Club.
Our Country Club is truly a country club. There's no restaurant, the clubhouse is small and only has a few snacks, drinks and hotdogs (and a bar that we weren't even allowed to walk through back in the day), and the pool chairs were falling to pieces. This is no highfalutin place. We didn't care about any of those things, all we needed was a pool, a juke box and the independence that came from being left alone at the club.
When I hit the magical age of 11, I was allowed to be dropped off at the country club in the mornings and picked up some time after lunch. Me and my friends played Marco Polo, categories, shark, and other water games then dried off in our pool chairs reading Teen Beat magazines.
When we got hungry, we'd throw on our coverups and Jelly sandals and walk across the yard to the clubhouse, waving at our grandpas/uncles/daddy's and their friends as they practiced on the putting green or driving drive. Then we'd take turns selecting hotdogs from the spinning cooker and grab a can of Pepsi before asking the golf pro to put it on our daddy's tabs. I literally had no idea that country club food cost anything, I thought daddy's tab was a magical bill you didn't pay.
On super awesome days, Miss Peggy, an older lady who never missed a day at the pool, would take our lunch orders and visit the local grill to get us cheeseburgers and french fries. I can still remember checking all the hidden nooks and crannies of my pool bag trying to find enough change to give to her for my food.
Those were the days. Maccripine was our paradise. We were tan beyond belief (with hardly any sunscreen), super skinny from all the swimming and running (despite all the food) and had zero worries except hoping that our grandmas or babysitters weren't the first ones there to pick us up.
When I hit 15, that all changed. That summer, my mema drove me to the local social security office and I got myself a work permit so I could work at my mama's drug store. Gone were the days of being dropped at the pool and lounging for hours on end. Even when I had my hours changed to work from 8am to 1pm so I still had time to hit the pool, my friends and I had all different schedules. Not to mention that by this time my Uncle Gene (who ran the clubhouse) had learned that daddy was not fond of me putting things on his tab.
As we got older, those lazy days of summer and the care-free trips to Maccripine where we all just happened to show up there at the same time turned into scheduled moments here and there where we showed up with little sisters or children we were babysitting and spent just as much time gossiping and lounging as we did chasing after them.
The only time I get to visit our country club now (even though my parents live at the 12th green) is when someone has a wedding reception or party in the big club ballroom.
I miss those simple days when summer actually meant something besides warmer weather, your friends were all in one place and daddy's tab covered everything you needed.