By Lynn Moncus
As you are aware, Aggie and I take a ride every Sunday afternoon in order to enjoy the many vistas in Quay County and to recall some of the history of the area which we mosey around while enjoying the open air. Walking keeps us in touch with the past as we relax in the present.
One of us didn’t want to drive very far last Sunday, so we went to the Metropolitan Park to do a little checking and a lot of remembering. Although we couldn’t get very close to the pool and the club house, we could see that work has been done on the building and that the area could still be a major gathering place for picnics and other quiet outdoor activities.
Those of us who had the opportunity to swim in that gigantic pool probably didn’t realize that it was unique and was one of the largest in the Southwest. Many of us had watched the CCC boys at work in later years really began to appreciate all they had done for our county. The building itself was an architectural feat, and the pool required back-breaking labor.
A lot of us learned to keep our head above water in that pool and enjoyed watching the braver swimmers dive from the high diving board even though we weren’t too good at falling off the low one. Actually, I felt safer in the wading pool but had great fun when Miss Ardene Mershon tried to teach me to do more than to float on my back in the deep end.
Aggie and I then drove back by the first pool and stopped to roam around in that area and to recall the many school and family picnics that were held in that part of the park. The rock and concrete tables and benches amid the grove of trees were convenient for large groups of people and were in use on most warm days throughout the year.
We had hay rides to that area in the evening and enjoyed wiener and marshmallow roasts. A nice bonfire added cheer to the gathering, and then the odor of wieners roasting gave all of us appetites. Those weiners also gave us plenty of grit because they usually landed in the dirt a time or two before they were done and were merely dusted off, put back on the stick, and eaten when they were sufficiently charred.
Most didn’t fall off the sticks by accident because part of the fun had to do with some class clowns seeing just how many they could knock off the sticks in one fell swoop. We covered them with mustard, placed them inside the buns, and washed them down with cold soft drinks.
Various kinds of reunions were held in both areas of the park, depending on the weather and on the desire of the group to have the gathering in those trees or in the yard and house at the pool. Dances were also held at the house and drew large crowds.
I remember attending an old-timers reunion in the 1950s, long before I was an old-timer, and enjoying the story telling that went on as people talked about their early lives in Quay County. Much history could have been taped at such a gathering, but the people were there to enjoy the visiting and were not thinking of preserving some of those great stories.
Wherever we roam in our county, we can recall stories about the past and are so very fortunate to have been privileged to live part of our history and now to enjoy making more as time passes.