2018-08-10 / Travel

Ode to my Father

Part 7: The Swimming Hole
By Warner M. Montgomery, Ph.D.


A favorite childhood swimming hole for my father was at a bend in Black River called Cut Down Grounds. A favorite childhood swimming hole for my father was at a bend in Black River called Cut Down Grounds. My father, Miller Montgomery, was born and raised in Greeleyville in Williamsburg County, S.C. This a continuation of the memoirs he wrote for me before he died in 1996:

“Our favorite childhood swimming hole was at a bend in Black River we called Cut Down Grounds. Each side of the river was beautiful white sand as was the bottom of the river. This swimming hole was about six miles west of Kingstree. People from Kingstree and Greeleyville held swimming parties, picnics, and family gatherings there.

“One day Papa took Bub (older brother John A.) and me there for a swim. Bub jumped in below the curve and easily swam around the curve to the sand bar where he stood and waved to us.

“Bold me! I jumped in thinking I could reach the sand bar in the swift water. I got within 10 or 12 feet of the bar and gave out. I called Bub for help, but he thought I was kidding and ignored me.

“I turned to Papa who was undressing behind a tree and yelled, ‘Help Papa! I’m drowning!’ He, too, ignored me.

“Finally, just as the river took me around the bend, Bub jumped in and dragged me to safety. It was the first of many times he saved my life.”

[Note: The Black River flows from Lee County southeasterly through Sumter, Clarendon, and Williamsburg counties for 150 miles on its way to join the Great Pee Dee River in Georgetown County. It is a free-flowing river of black water due to tannins leached from organic material decomposing in the surrounding swamps. The river has many white sandbars and lake-like areas]

Next week: Picking cotton worms

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