When I was a kid, long hot summer days were the best kind of day.
That's because a creek that gave us a cool respite and many hours of enjoyment ran through the town of Thayer.
Warm Fork of the Spring River is the official name on maps, but we simply called it "the creek."
A combination of silt and dropping water tables has diminished the once 6- to 8-foot-deep full flowing stream to a mere trickle.
Each year, the Warm Fork waited patiently for school to end -- which was the official start of summer in our way of thinking.
With an admonition from our moms to "be home by supper time," we headed to the creek.
There was an unspoken social order at the creek.
Big rowdy boys swam at certain places while smaller dudes tried to stay out of the way, for fear of becoming a victim of a near drowning, and families found other places to their liking.
Turtle Hole was the closest swimming place to town. It was just a short distance above the town bridge (about where the town park is now located).
A large log in the edge of the water made a good place for diving and jumping off.
Further upstream was Tree Hole, across from the high outcropping of limestone.
It was a favorite place for everyone, with its gravel bar and trees leaning over the water to jump from.
Around the bend and on up stream, behind the current-day football field, was Powell Hole.
Deep and wide, you could never tell who'd be there, maybe even skinny dippers.
N. B. Allen Ford, where the road crosses the creek, was another good swimming hole that was a favorite place to roast wieners and picnic among the trees.
The old Iron Bridge (removed in 2008) was at one time a swimming place that had lost favor in my youth. Where Highway 19 crosses the Warm Fork was Mill Pond (older folks sometimes referred to it as Green Lantern Bridge, so called because of a tavern/dance place that once graced the high bank of the river on the south side of the river below the bridge).
It was a great place to swim. The swing, tied high in the top of a giant oak tree, was a priceless treasure at Mill Pond.
Sloans Ford, north of Clifton, was also a popular swimming place but a bit far to walk or ride our bikes. Shelby Hole, north of Mammoth Spring was also a swimming place.
Rusty barbed wire, nails, broken glass and sharp rocks, not to mention the snakes, little swimming critters and poison ivy, were just a few of the hazards that were a living book on how to not reach manhood.
The Tally-Ho Motel put in a swimming pool and opened it to the public in 1947.
It was nice, with sparkling clear water and a diving board, but nothing could ever replace being up on "the creek."