Why I Miss The Pools (And Pool Rules) Of America

11 hours ago

Dear Americans,

I hear it's swimming pool season for you. Enjoy it while it lasts.

And as you complain about the crowds at the nearest pool and the annoying list of rules, think of me, envying you.

When I lived in Boston, I swam in a public pool. I loved the quiet, the order, the rope floats that demarcate lanes, the chalkboard with chlorine and pH levels, even the smell of chlorine.

In a sunny patch of grass in the middle of Indianapolis' Crown Hill Cemetery, 45 people recently gathered around a large blackboard. The words "Before I Die, I Want To ..." were stenciled on the board in bold white letters.

Sixty-two-year-old Tom Davis led us through the thousands of gravestones scattered across the cemetery. He'd been thinking about his life and death a lot in the previous few weeks, he told us. On March 22, he'd had a heart attack.

Queen Brown has told the story for years now, and it shows.

But it doesn't sound rehearsed. It sounds lived in, thought over, played on repeat over and over again. The story of her son, Eviton Elijah Brown, killed nine years ago, shot by a man Eviton didn't even know.

Eviton had been a student at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, or FAMU, before he was shot. He took some time off from school, to work after his girlfriend got pregnant. He was staying at home with his mother. One day, after a long double shift driving trucks, Eviton came home, exhausted.

The City of Thornton is one of many growing suburbs of Denver, Colo. On a day without much traffic, it's only a 20-minute commute into the state capitol, and its new homes with big yards make it an attractive bedroom community. Nearly 130,000 people live there, and the population is expected to keep booming.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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