Posted tagged ‘cold water’

“If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?”

August 30, 2018

The heat is still horrific. This is the worst it’s been in my memory. My friend Bill wondered if it is hotter here than in Bolgatanga, Ghana where we both lived. Some days I believe it is.

This is the rainy season in Ghana, but it isn’t the rainy season here. We haven’t seen rain in a while, especially that drenching rain I remember in Ghana. Luckily my irrigation system has kept the lawn and garden green. The plants in the deck pots have to be watered almost every day or they wilt. I understand wilting. I wilt every time I go outside. It is not a pretty sight.

When I was younger, I could tolerate the heat here in the house far better. I didn’t even have a fan. I used to sleep downstairs on the couch, and I kept the back door open all night. That was enough. Now, it would never be enough.

When I was a kid, I slept through the hottest nights because I was exhausted, because the swelter of every summer day didn’t matter, didn’t slow me down, didn’t stop me from having fun. I rode my bike, played softball, walked to the pool and hung around outside with friends. I was a kid so being sweaty and dirty was no never mind. The sprinkler was my summer shower. That it was cold water was the best part.

My mother always had a pitcher of ZaRex in the fridge. It was cheaper than making lemonade and tasted better than Kool-Aid. The pitcher she used the most was blue aluminum. The glasses were also aluminum but were a variety of colors. She had a couple of glass pitchers, one smaller than the other. I found their duplicates in an antique store and bought them both. I’m heavy into nostalgia.

My mother didn’t use her stove or oven a whole lot in the summer because the small kitchen held the heat. Sandwiches were acceptable supper food. My dad barbecued on weekends but my mother never did during the week. Everyone knew barbecuing was a man’s job. That my father sometimes set himself on fire was just an acceptable risk.

I have a doctor’s appointment in Hyannis today. I’m not happy with going outside. That my car has AC doesn’t matter. It’s just the idea of it.

“When I was a child, our summer days were spent swimming; chlorine in my hair was like perfume to me.”

June 13, 2017

The house is still closed, and the AC is cranking. A few steps outside are a few steps too many. It is already 83˚, a bit cooler than yesterday but that’s a small consolation when it is this hot.

If I were a kid again, today would be sprinkler weather. I remember best the old metal sprinkler with arms which turned in a circle, My father used it for years. We’d put it on the side lawn which gave us some running and jumping room, and we’d make sure the water pressure was never too high so we could easily jump over. I also remember how cold the water was. It took our breaths away. The grass all around the sprinkler got drenched and tamped down, and it sometimes made us slide. My father was never happy on sprinkler day because of his lawn.

My sisters, more than I, used to eat their lunches on the backyard steps. It was a picnic of sorts. I can still see them wearing their bathing suits each one sitting on her own step, each one munching a sandwich.

Summer to me is so many things. It is Saturday night at the drive-in all of us dressed in our pajamas. We’d bring robes and slippers in case we had to make a bathroom run. At intermission, the playground near the refreshment stand was always filled with pajama-clad kids playing and yelling after being stuck in the car for a whole movie. When I was really young, I fell asleep during the second movie, the one for the adults. When I was older, I stayed awake the whole time though I never did see the end of any movie. My dad wanted out before the traffic jam of cars trying to exit on the one road. I think we were the first to leave.

Summer is casual. That started when I was a kid. We had no specific bedtimes. When the streetlights came on, we could still play outside. Breakfast and lunch were seldom planned, cereal in the morning and a sandwich at lunch. We ate when we were hungry. My mother always made supper, but it was seldom as hearty as winter dinners. A grab and go was the ideal supper because we wanted to get back outside.

Summer is just starting. Let the fun begin!


“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.”

July 3, 2016

The morning is just perfect, sunny and cool. This room is even a bit chilly. I woke up at six, an abominable hour. Hoping to fall back to sleep, I stayed in bed until 6:30 when I decided to get up and start my day.

At 5: 30 what I thought was moaning woke me up. I looked for Gracie at the foot of the bed, but she wasn’t there. I panicked, figured she fell and went to look under the bed. That’s when I noticed her. She was staring at me from the top of the bed near my other pillow. She would have been sleeping right beside my head. What I took as moaning was probably her deep breathing and maybe a bit of a snore. I swear I saw pity in her eyes.

The Cape is filled this weekend. On Friday the back-up was three or four miles to get over the Sagamore Bridge. With July 4th a Monday, the long weekend has enticed people to travel. Some have gone north to New Hampshire and beyond while others have come to the Cape, a perfect weekend destination. The lure of beaches and seafood is not easy to ignore. Before I lived here, I never came down the cape. We stayed closer to home. When I was really young, it was Revere Beach with aunts and uncles and cousins. That was when there were still rides and lots of places for fried dough, burgers, pizza slices and Italian ice. When I got older, we’d go to the beach in Gloucester, the cold water beaches. My father didn’t care and he went swimming anyway. My mother always stayed on the blanket. If she went in the water, it was along the shore and only her feet got wet. I found out later my mother had never learned to swim. I found that amazing considering how much time we’d spent at the beaches each summer. Both my mother and dad grew up in the city, but my dad was a great swimmer. I loved to watch him body surf in the waves. He taught us to swim. I wondered how he learned and my mother didn’t. Come to find out my dad went to summer camps where he learned to swim.

I don’t go to the beaches. I did when I was younger, but now I’m not so keen on crowds, sand and itchy skin from the salt. I think the best time for the beaches is the fall and the winter. Each season looks different but no less beautiful. The winter beach looks cold and even desolate. The wind blows so hard it is sometimes difficult to walk. I think that’s my favorite time for beaches.

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