Where is the Swimming Hole?
Couldn't find it. I wondered how long it would take before a Catoosa County deputy would ask why I was driving up and down North Nicajack Road in the Wood Station community. The object of my search was illusive: Things do not look the same. If the swimming hole is still there, it is well disguised.
The creek flowed through pastures and woods until it found a place to widen out.
There was no place for diving, but exposed roots were used for hand-holds in climbing the slippery bank.
What was left of an old rope still dangled from a limb that leaned over the creek.
There were other swimming holes in the valleys. Most of them served a dual purpose of being the local “baptizing hole.”
This water was darkened by particles of clay and minuscule parts of organic this and that picked up as the creek crawled along.
The water was dark but not in the south Georgia way. The slow-moving creeks below the gnat line creep along and pick up tannic acid, turning the water the color of dark tea.
On the same side of Taylor's Ridge and several miles south, Cane Creek runs parallel to Alabama Highway without bothering anybody.
In the days around 1920, all the churches in the Naomi community used a hole in the creek for baptizing and swimming. On the Sunday my mother was baptized, Mr. Keown's cows watched, apparently amused.
Across the mountain my maternal grandparents were baptized in East Armurchee Creek. The spot is marked by an old concrete bridge south of GA 136 near Villanow in Walker County.
The bridge is on private property now, but every time I see it, I wonder if anyone else feels a connection to the old bridge and baptizing hole.
I paused to look at a likely spot where the road crossed a creek and put my mind in reverse for a few decades.
One of the Trundle boys tried to interest me in the art of hand-fishing, but I didn't bite on that. He demonstrated the process but claimed there was too much activity downstream. He walked along with his hand under the bank hopeful for a bream, catfish or eel.
He said the women were not good hand-fishers and scooped fish from under the bank using a long handled net. “But,” he said, “they get more fish.”
Whether the spot was correct or not I'll likely never know. I doubt anyone who enjoyed that swimming hole is still around to remember.
But, I remember that swimming hole. Yes I do.