Exhale

Widower builds pool for neighborhood kids so he’ll never be lonely again

You might want to prepare a box of tissues before reading this.

In April 2016, Keith Davison lost his wife, Evelyn, to cancer. In the year that followed, the 94-year-old retired judge lived (and suffered) alone in their Morris, Minnesota home.

“You just can’t imagine what it’s like,” said Davison. “You cry a lot. That’s just the way it is because she’s not here.”

To cure his loneliness, he decided to make friends with the neighbours. Lots of them.

He did this by building a swimming pool in his backyard and inviting all the neighborhood kids. He opened his doors in July, and now, his home is once again filled with joy and laughter. Some two to 10 children visit him at any given day for a summer-long pool party.

“You can’t be down in the dumps when you’re out there watching these kids doing cannonballs off the springboard,” he told CNN.

The 32-foot pool, which is the only one in the entire town, comes with a nine-foot deep-end and a diving board. It also has strict rules – such as having an adult present at all times – to make sure everyone is safe.

And when everyone goes home, the owner himself takes a relaxing, well-deserved dip.

Davison, who has three adult children but no grandchildren, doesn’t feel alone anymore. Not when he’s become a surrogate grandfather to so many local kids.

“You kind of adopted our whole neighborhood of kids,” one neighbour said. “These are your grandchildren.”