Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer in Alabama ~ my column from Sunday's paper

Things change as you age and this lesson came into sharp focus this week as I prepared for a workshop down in Carrolton, Alabama.

The weatherman promised the temps would be lower this coming week, but apparently, the
mercury hasn’t gotten the memo yet because it was hotter than Lucifer in latex.

The books, handouts, and equipment for the sessions are stored in plastic boxes the size of Army footlockers. I realized these things weren’t going to load themselves, so I got an early start to beat the heat. But I was too late.

Loading the SUV was a chore. By the time I finished, it felt as if I’d showered with my clothes on. Pausing to wipe sweat from my eyes, I glanced at the reflection in the back glass. It looked as if crystal beads were rolling down my face and neck.

The two-hour drive to the workshop in East Alabama was almost to the Mississippi State Line.

Cruising down the two-lane roads gave me a lot of time to reflect. I remember that hot summers didn’t use to bother me.

My first job after graduating from high school was with the state highway department. One of my duties on the road crew was to inspect asphalt in August. We had to ensure the contractors weren’t cutting corners and spreading the asphalt too thin in places.

This job rotated through the younger members of the crew, but it usually fell to the member who had made the crew chief mad. Afterward, my boss told me that I looked like a mirage standing there in the rising heat waves. It was brutal work, but I loved hot weather back then.

This week’s workshop was over around 3 p.m., and the SUV had been sitting in the hot sun for three hours. The inside was as hot as a kiln, so I cranked the AC up to super-duper cool.

Before hitting the road home, I sent a text update to my lovely spouse. She replied back to be careful and watch for school buses. Leaning forward, I tapped my head on the padded steering wheel and thought to myself, “Why are we torturing kids by sending them back to school in summer?”

Her advice was timely because approaching a curve near Poplar Springs, I glimpsed a yellow bus with flashing caution lights about to offload a herd of kids. With backpacks slung over their shoulders, they dashed off in every direction. Some of them looked a little wilted from the heat.

The Farmer’s Almanac says that last year’s warm winter was an anomaly and that we can expect colder weather beginning in November. Jilda was almost giddy this morning as she read this factoid aloud.

She’s no fan of hot weather and the older I get, the more I’ve come around to her way of thinking.

We both know people who want to wear shorts and tank tops to Walmart year around. These people whine when it gets chilly in January. I sometimes wonder why these folks don’t move to South Florida or Jamaica.

Jilda joked that she was going to buy a stun gun and if she heard one person complain about the cold weather she was going to zap them. I told her that sounded a little wacky, but summer in Alabama does that to both of us.

13 comments:

  1. Kids should not be in school in the hot summer...they should be in the fields plowing!

    The heat bothers me ore now then years ago as well, and that was without air conditioning.

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  2. I am not a fan of heat. It is much easier to adapt to cool weather, put another layer on, have a hot drink.

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  3. Okay, i laughed with you, sweated with you and I even enjoyed the workshop! LOL But Imma tell you, I have been called a lizard, not caring heat of cool, so I don't want to get zapped! hahaha.
    I thought of you today as I walked under so many 'bearded trees' as you called the ones loaded with Spanish moss. You have become such a Pansy!!! LOL Good on you. Daddy said in N. Georgia they said sweating was washing the body from the inside out! (So U probably B clean!) ;-)

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  4. The older I get the less I like hot weather too. We've had an unusually hot summer here. Last winter was unusual and one of the nicest I can remember, but still winter is not my favorite season. I can hardly take the extreme cold either. Thankfully it will cool off here the middle of September and for a sort while it'll be almost perfect as far as temps go.
    Meanwhile I guess we'll both be sweating.

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  5. During the last two decades, climate has become anomalous. Both summers and winters are insupportable.
    Floods, earthquakes, volcano erruptions have increased in number.
    If you believe in God (I believe), then the weather shows God is angry with us people for violating the rules of his world and trying to play God ourselves.

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  6. I can handle the cold better than I can the heat. And heat always brings out insects that choose me as their buffet.

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    Replies
    1. Stephen just described ME!!

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  7. I swear it's our age... I too used to hang outside in the heat when I was younger and never got bothered... today I live for my A/C ... I don't mind cool weather but I despise freezing weather xox

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  8. Ok I will be the first to be zapped. I hate cold weather. Autumn, I like but Winter not so. I will complain until spring. I love the heat.
    Lisa

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  9. Possibly because we are now accustomed to air that has been conditioned (therefore, conditioning us to the new 'norm.')
    I am thankful for modern conveniences....heat and air among them.
    I like cold weather better than hot weather, but we adapt (or use modern conveniences to help us.)

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  10. We have had a couple of hot spells here but for the most part the weather has been moderate. I feel for the people who are suffering in the hot weather. I never liked it when the temperature is higher than 75 or 80.

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  11. This post made me think of Tim when we were first married way back when he loved the heat never complained it was too hot, but the last couple of years that has changed and he no longer thinks the hotter the better

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  12. Well, in Lake Louise, they had snow! It looked soooooo good! This summer has been too hot and humid...I dislike it

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