I’m watching TV the last several nights and that familiar weather crawl comes scrolling across the bottom of the screen announcing school closings all across Keloland. What the heck is going on? Did I fall into some sort of Rip Van Winkle-like slumber and suddenly its wintertime; with blizzards keeping our kids homebound?
Schools are curtailing their hours or not opening at all because it’s too darned hot.
Here we are at the end of August when visions of cool nights, apple cider, pumpkin patches and State Fair trips are dancing in our heads. Instead..we get this late surge of Hell; a cruel uninvited visitor who shows up on the heels of our violent spring in which ice and wind combined to ruin our trees and sour our dispositions about living in this country where tolerable weather is such a premium.
I remember squirming and being uncomfortable in the classroom as a kid but it had more to do with uncompleted homework or pop quizzes than hot humid days and schools without air conditioning. Besides, back then, schools started when they were supposed to: on the Monday after Labor Day.
I got to thinking about how hot is too hot?
So far as I can recall from my youth, nothing was ever called off due to the heat. Cub Becker still phoned the house looking for me to haul hay bales at a dollar an hour. It didn’t matter if Bert Getz announced on KBRK radio that temperatures could hit a hundred. Uncle Johnny still needed help picking rocks on his east eighty. Harry Prendergast was still holding football practice at the high school field and mom would still fire up the stove to cook a big supper. Don’t get me wrong, I hated the heat back then as I do now it’s just that we weren’t constantly reminded how dangerous it was; staying hydrated and all that. Plus, we had no choice but to grin and bear it. Only a few folks in town had one of those buzzing metal boxes projecting from a window that meant cold air was being delivered on the other side. Usually it was at the house of an old couple who’d never invite a kid indoors to cool off anyway. The drug store was our only oasis on Main Street but, you couldn’t just go in there all the time and hang out. You either bought something or got the stink eye from owner Dwayne Tupper.
A small, green oscillating fan was the only air conditioning in the Lund home and there was many a time after mowing or some other task on a scorcher of a day, I’d plant myself in front of that thing until all the perspiration had evaporated from my face leaving a salty residue behind. I wonder if Google might have a picture of what ours looked like. Well, I’ll be darned.
Mom used to warn us boys not to get our fingers anywhere close to the metal blades of that fan so, of course, my brother Denny had to demonstrate how he could stop it without injury. That may have been what burned up the motor forcing my dad to buy a higher priced but much more effective box fan that you could actually put in the window to suck-in cool night air.
We’ve all done this: think about the worst job on an excruciatingly hot day? Usually, being a roofer would be in the top three. Well, guess who’s having their roof shingled this week.
My kid brother, Tom, is coming home this week and hoping to play some golf with his brothers while here. He’s in very good shape..plus he’s been living in South Carolina for the last few years and become familiar with the kind of heat and humidity that has befallen Keloland. It’s going to be disappointing; I’m sure when I tell him that I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than try to play golf in heat like this. I would start the round in a golf cart and leave in an ambulance.
Maybe we can go hang out at the drug store.