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Small Wonders: Country club pool still makes a splash

June 22, 2012|By Patrick Caneday

The kids are out of school, and the world is beginning to smell like hot pavement. Morning gloom gives way to hazy blue and long summer afternoons spent in the swimming hole.

It may be the pool in your backyard, or your neighbor's; maybe the community pool, the beach, a pond or creek in the woods.

For me, it's the pool at the private country club near my childhood home. But before pictures form in your mind of haughty exclusivity, caddies and pretentiousness, know that I am talking about the Chevy Chase Country Club. The Everyman Country Club.

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Nestled in a canyon where palm, oak and pine trees stand guard, CCCC (as those in the know call it) is a serene patch of grass, simple clubhouse and raucous swimming pool. For nine months of the year, it's a quiet refuge for golfers to enjoy nine holes in relative serenity.

But from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the pool is open to anyone who pays the summer social membership. Just don't wear your bathing suit into the clubhouse.

I have few childhood summer memories in which the CCCC pool isn't in the background. Which is why it's so jarring for me to lounge there now, watching my children frolic in the water. Perhaps the same cloudy water that I did.

Remember the pool scene in “Caddyshack”? For 15 minutes one day each summer at the elite Bushwood Country Club, the ragamuffin, uncouth, hell-raising caddies are allowed to swim at the club's private pool, frightening and chasing away the upper-crust members. It's kind of like that every day at CCCC in the summer. Weathered tattoos replace family crests.

The regulars — tense, deeply tanned chardonnay moms with sun hats and too many pools toys — get there when it opens and lay claim to the choice seating in areas with equal parts shade and sun. They'll be there all day so they need both.

Soon, every other seat and table will be taken over by the semi-regulars, not-so-regulars and irregulars.

It has the feel of a large pool party; all the liveliness of a crowded public pool, but with poolside food and beverage service. The friendly staff hurries about bringing mediocre food and much-appreciated drinks to all walks of life — old, leathery and wrinkled; tight, toned and tan, and everything between.

It's a Target crowd: they care about quality, but settle for a good deal.

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