Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Hot Time In The Ol' Town Tonight

(From today's TIMES and NEWS-STAR)

A funny guy said on TV the other night that it’s been so hot, Lance Armstrong tested positive for Snapple.

It’s so hot, the fire hydrants are hoping a dog will walk by.

It’s like “Grapes of Wrath” hot. “To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth.” And all like that. 

So hot even the sun won’t go outside. Even my hair won’t go outside.
I read a quote in the Kansas City Star from a guy with the Kansas State Research and Extension office, bemoaning the possibility that tomatoes will take a major hit, and have already. “Even the weeds are stressed,” he said.

If the Olympics were being held in north Louisiana, the swimmers would refuse to get out of the pool.

My own personal mother, ever thoughtful of creatures great and small, told me she put ice in her West Monroe bird bath this week. “The birds have loved it,” she said. (She’s willing to rent it out if either you or your birds are interested.)

I have been in a ballpark when a centerfielder’s metal cleats have melted and bent on the artificial turf. I have seen heat stroke victims carted to the emergency room. I have worked in air so hot, it burns to breathe.

But it has been a while – the summer of 1981 to be precise, which I spent with a shovel on a road in Camden, Ark., in a record number of consecutive 100-degrees days – since I have been this warm for this long. And I love the heat. But not so much that I want to know what it’s like to be a loaf of bread, baking.

A hot friend of mine said he’d experienced a miracle last weekend: “My father-in-law,” he said, “gave me his old riding lawnmower.” 


“I felt like a king sitting up on that thing on the trailer when we loaded it,” he said. “I wish my wife would have let me just drive it on home.”

Unless he has a climate controlled yard, it’s still going to be pretty hot in the mowing arena. But, better to sit than to stand when the heat index is more than the number of yards in a football field. Any port in a storm.

It’s already been a tough summer, what with the deaths of guys like Andy Griffith and, more recently, Sherman Hemsley, most famous for his role as George Jefferson, first on “All in the Family” and later on “The Jeffersons.” How could you not love George Jefferson? And why would he end up living in, of all places, El Paso, as his obit explained? And how hot do you bet it’s been there this summer? 

(It’s been 100-plus in El Paso for more than 30 days this summer, steamy but not close to its 1994 record of 62 100-degrees-or-more days. George Jefferson should have moved on up, like, maybe to Michigan.)

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Louisiana had its second warmest August on record last summer. We’ll see what this August brings. Hang in there. The good news is, we’re almost out of the woods. It will get cooler after this month, “cooler” being a relative term in north Louisiana. The point is, it’s just a month. You can fight a bear for a month.

So hydrate. At worst, find a nice bird bath. This month, make sure you test positive for water.