By Jim “Pappy” Moore
I was having a conversation recently with longtime friends about the weeks of scorching weather we are having where each day exceeds 100 degrees. It’s hot out there in East Texas.
Yes, it is hot out there, but I am the optimist. I recall the summer of 2011. Twelve years ago we had hot weather and no rain. It was so bad lakes receded across Texas. They went dry for hundreds of yards from their usual shorelines. Forest and grass fires broke out. Smoke wafting through the air in rural communities became a problem. Some people had to abandon their homes and seek refuge for days or longer. It was far worse than it has been this summer.
In retirement I have a luxury many do not have. I can get up early, do my chores and errands between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. and spend all those really hot hours from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. mostly inside with the shade and the cool air-conditioning. Suffice it to say I keep cooking at a minimum during those hot hours. Prepared dishes I can heat up in the microwave or air fryer limit heat producing cooking. Or I can eat sandwiches to keep things cool.
I run my air conditioning at temperatures between 74 and 77 degrees. I find that keeps me comfortable. Cold water in the fridge is a regular drink throughout my day.
There are things we can do during the sweltering heat which help, but there are jobs and chores outside that cannot wait, and which do require grappling with Mother Nature’s heatwave.
It seems to me that these really hot summers occur on average about once every ten years – sometimes more, sometimes less. Like the hard freezes, they come and go in cycles.
When I was growing up we did not have air conditioning. It was hot and sweaty in the house, just like it was outside. The only relief came at night when all the lights were out, it was the coolest part of the day, and we had that monster attic fan ON. Oh, the glorious attic fan. It came on with a loud, continuing sound that drowned out every other sound. Our windows were open with the screens to keep out the bugs. Sometimes it would get so cool we would have to pull up the covers. When we awoke our nasal passages and throats might be feeling the effects of all that rushing air all night long.
Compare our lives to those of people living in Africa, where children are forced into labor to dig precious metals for the construction of batteries for electric vehicles. Imagine living and working all day in those sweltering conditions, with no air conditioning, no attic fans, no respite from the heat. We forget that we have things so much better than the majority of humans on our planet.
The British Comedy Group from the 1970s – Monty Python – wrote a song in 1979 titled “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” While I do not endorse every thought contained in the song, I do embrace its main theme to always look on the bright side of life. If you have a roof over your head, if you never want for food or water, if you can live within your means, if you have choices, and pets, and friends, and family – count your blessings. It is easy to forget how good we have it compared to most of the humans who live in other parts of the world, and almost all humans who lived before our era. We have it so good.
Copyright 2023, Jim “Pappy” Moore. All rights reserved.