By Betty Rugg – Elstow, Sask.
About 1971 or 1972, my husband, Barry, and I took our two youngest girls, Carol, 10, and Lois, eight, for a dip in the Chalet Pool at Manitou Beach near Watrous, Saskatchewan.
Both Lois and I had trouble keeping our feet on the bottom of the pool so we stayed where we could hang on to the side of the pool, while Barry and Carol headed down to the deep end for a swim.
After a short while, I looked down at my left hand just in time to see my wedding ring about to slide off my finger. I then realized my engagement ring was already in the pool. Panic set in!
Frantically, I waved to Barry to come to where we were. As soon as he and Carol got there I said, “Tell them to drain the pool – my engagement ring fell into the water!”
“The management wouldn’t want to do that,” he said, “Let’s see if we can feel it with our feet.”
I was all for draining the pool but since I hadn’t moved from the spot where I saw the other ring sliding off we decided to give it a try. All four of us were trying and within a few minutes Lois said, “I think, maybe, I’ve stepped on it, but I’m not sure.”
The floor of the pool was quite rough and it was hard to tell. Carol donned her goggles and nose plugs and volunteered to dive under the water to retrieve it.
As anyone who has ever been in that water knows, it is impossible to stay under because minerals in the water make it very buoyant and quite murky.
“Try it again,” I said, “and I’ll try to hold you under long enough to find it.”
She put the goggles back on, took a deep breath, put the plugs on her nose and dove in. I held her down momentarily until I looked up and saw people on the balcony overlooking the pool.
“Good grief,” I thought, “they’ll think I’m trying to drown my daughter.”
Up she came, but still no ring. Lois said she was sure it was still under her foot. After some point in time, Carol was finally able to pick up the ring with her toe. I quickly grabbed the ring when her foot came up to the surface. What a relief!
Big hugs were in order for both girls, a reward of $5 each and they didn’t have to drain the pool!
On a recent trip to Manitou Lake almost 40 years later, I was reminded of the time I lost my engagement ring. The Chalet Pool was opened in 1929 or 1930 and was destroyed by fire in 1983. The mineral spa was built on the same site and opened in 1989. They recently celebrated their 25th anniversary.
I’m sure some of your readers have lots of stories about the two old pools: the Chalet and White’s Pool. The latter was opened in 1922 and demolished in 1953.
My husband and I both have fond memories of both pools and the lake, too.