Amity, a lovely word meaning harmony and good feeling. The 1975 movie JAWS! was set on a New England island named Amity where the summer tourists provided lunch for a marauding great white shark. Local Police Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) tried to warn them but Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) overruled him. In this article, Gentle Reader, you may think of me as the police chief and Peg as the mayor. Peg’s Wal-Mart aboveground pool will serve as our beach.
Just take a look at the photograph! That dark goo in the bottom of the pool is as scary as the shark. You will note Peg is covered from head to toe with HAZMAT protection. You may wonder why she is in the middle of the crud while I am not. Well, someone had to take the photograph and I can’t do everything.
Peg’s pool brings back memories of my “quality time” with my father. Dad liked to fish but he didn’t like to tote all his equipment to the brown, stagnant Oklahoma creek which housed various critters and a few finned and slimy bass.
Before each trip Mom would warn us of the dangers of typhoid fever as she knew Dad would take my brothers and me to the creek without anything to drink. Dad would point to the brackish creek water if the 110° Oklahoma summer drove us past Mom’s cautionary admonishments. Dad and Peg have similar make-ups.
When Peg dragged me away from my Saturday morning coffee to help clean the pool I told her about the recent E. coli outbreaks in Pennsylvania, Idaho and California. She responded that the only thing I had to fear from the pool gunk was her if I didn’t get off my couch.
How quickly she has forgotten our experience when the National Judicial College sent me to Russia to teach judges there. We could not brush our teeth, drink or even bathe in much of the water. When I reminded her of this she said, “The ten pounds you lost from the bacteria in Russia was just a start on what you need.” Unkind, very unkind.