GAGE, Okla. (KFOR) – There are people who drill for oil and imagine a lake of it producing barrel after barrel, literally printing money.

But the people of Gage are forever thankful for the water that gushed out of the hole C.J. Minton drilled in 1917.

Pat Jacoby might be happiest of all.

She’s been managing the Gage Artesian Beach for the past 22 summers.

“I like it out here,” she states.

“You’ve seen it all then?” queries her guest.

“Yeah, I have,” she laughs.

She lives her life by the swim season calendar, and can often be found after hours sitting by herself enjoying the setting.

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Gage Artesian Beach, image KFOR

Dry scrub grows right to the edge of the pool filled with clear, untreated, mineral water filling one of the largest outdoor pools in Oklahoma.

“It’s never had anything other than a sandy bottom,” she tells us. “All we do is pour bleach in here every so often to keep the steps from getting slick.”

But Jacoby does have one rule.

She makes kids pass a test before they jump in the deep end.

They have to swim the width of the pool even if the parents object.

Pat says, “Parents tell me, ‘Yes. my kid can swim.’ But half of them can’t. Sometimes they get angry with me and leave but that’s okay. At least I don’t have anyone hurt.”

The pool width is one thing, about 100 feet.

But how about the length?

We wanted to know if anyone has ever swam from one end to the other without surfacing.

“We’ve had several over the years,” she says. “They swim all the way to the little end.”

It’s 100 yards from one end to the other, which is a long way to swim underwater.

Any attempt offers plenty of time to think of the water’s healing properties.

There is lots of time to think this about this wonderful, accidental gift, an oasis in far Western Oklahoma, and time to think about anything other than taking a breath until you can’t.

Gage Beach remains that breath of life in a hot place, a cool, green spot on the map, and a challenge if you care to try.

The beach is closed on weekdays now that school has started.

It’s open on weekends until Labor Day.

For more information go to their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/GageArtesianBeach.