Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Dublin Valley YMCA was famous for its indoor pool. J. Scott Jefferson, the town’s only luminary, had built the cavernous building into the side of a rolling hill near the beach at the turn of the 20th century as a greenhouse for his collection of non-native vines and dandelions. A grid of windows occupied the north side of the building. Black frames containing white glare at most hours of the day. In late afternoon, the field of brush, green and soft shades of brown most times of the year, could be seen through the panes. J. Scott had told his friends, when he had them in the later more philanthropic period of his life, that he had framed more than a dozen natural Van Goghs, if Van Gogh had lived in California and never discovered absinthe. During the summer, at all hours of the day, the children of Dublin Valley filled the pool with the little, soft bodies, flailing arms, sloppy splashing and, let’s be honest, sweat and pee. As the sun would set, the building became dark in minutes. The windows lost any color any sense of transparency at all if a lifeguard or another staff member did not turn on the long rows of fluorescent lights that had been installed above. At night the wall of windows was perfectly and absolutely black, just the way J. Scott and his vines and dandelions liked it.


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