Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Dog Days of Summer

I don't know when I developed an intolerance to heat but for some reason, this year seems hotter than all others. Perhaps it's because I'm older now and I pay more attention to it or to the electric bills for air conditioning or perhaps it really is hotter than it was when I was a child. 

I grew up with no air conditioning. So it shouldn't be a big deal now, but it is. Back then, our little cinder block home only had an attic fan and casement windows for ventilation. During summer months, we'd wear as little as possible to stay cool. Thank God for shorts and for Mama letting us run around barefooted. 

I used to hate our old tile floor in the living room and in the kitchen because when it was dirty and I wasn't wearing shoes, it felt gritty beneath my feet. But in the summers, that tile was so cool beneath my skin and I was thankful for it. 

We spent most of our summer days back then playing outside beneath huge Oak and Pine trees. Their shade helped keep us cool. Occasionally, we'd play in the sprinkler or squirt each other with the hose. 

One Summer, Mama signed us up for swimming lessons at our local pool. I don't know how much she had to pay for us to be taught to swim, but I was very grateful for the opportunity to learn the basics of swimming and also enjoy the pool after our lessons were over. Back then, I think it cost .50 cents to get in. Teen lifeguards were on duty but that didn't stop people from drowning. 

Milam looked like this back in the day

I'll never forget one summer in particular they had to close down the pool because a teenage boy got his leg caught in the drain that filtered debris from the pool. He was unable to get loose and drowned. It was a huge tragedy for a small town. 

Summer nights were our saving grace. When we were home and getting ready for bed, Mama would turn on the attic fan, we'd open all our bedroom windows and a gentle breeze would blow across us lulling us to sleep. 

One night in particular was scorching. Nothing Mama or Daddy tried to do could help us cool down and we were all complaining. Mama told us to get our pillows and bring them down to her. She took a spray bottle and sprayed each of our pillows with a fine mist and told us to put them in the big chest freezer in the garage. We obeyed although we had no clue what she was doing. After about thirty minutes, she told us to get our pillows and go back to bed. 

The pillows were nice an cold! What an ingenious idea. I think Mama could have become a millionaire if she'd thought to invent cooling gel that goes inside many pillows and mattresses these days. 

Milam now
The dog days of summer are usually in late July and August but man, I swear, it seems they're here now. Is it "Climate change" or are they tampering with the weather by other means? Who knows. I could have just become a wimp in my old age, but I don't think so. 

Every day I sit out on my back patio and enjoy the early morning air. It's breezy and perfect for a cup of tea and a good book. In the afternoons, it gets sweltering and uncomfortable so my husband and I come inside to cool down. 

I'm so thankful for air conditioning. I do try to keep the thermostat set at 76 most of the time during the Summer months, but sometimes, we have to drop it down a few notches. 

My heart hurts for the homeless this time of year. It must be horrible for them to try and find a place to cool off. Some churches offer respite from the heat for them and I've seen many homeless just sitting in our libraries, heads hung as they try to remain invisible before being kicked out. 

Milam at dusk

There are so many things we take for granted each day - a glass of iced water, our air conditioned homes and cars, lightweight clothing, etc. 

In the Summer, I always try to keep some cold bottles of water in the car. When we see someone walking on the street in the heat, we offer them a drink. They're usually very grateful.When we do it, we do it in the name of Christ, as He encouraged us to pay particular attention to the less fortunate and to strangers. 

Yes, it's hot this summer and it will probably get hotter in the next month or two, but hopefully we can bear it. Thank goodness we haven't had any power grid issues and hopefully we never will. 

Can you say "spoiled American"? I'll admit it, I am, especially when it comes to staying cool.

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