Thursday, July 19, 2012


Another morning to get up and drag around the hose and hook up the sprinkler.  The new oscillating sprinkler I purchased at Home Depot a few days ago.  On a summer of moderate watering I go through a $20 sprinkler in a year.  They always do the same thing.  They quit oscillating. This has been anything but a moderate watering year, this has been the decade's drought summer, so I knew from the get go I was on borrowed time with the sprinkler. 

And its hot.  Another 4 day spurt of mid 90 to a finale of a 100 degree temperatures.  With the 100 degree day came high humidity and the promise of thunderstorms that would at the least dump some much needed rain on our parched throats.  The summer of promise has become a summer of just getting through.  We kind of know, just as a rush of January snow and cold, signals a long, cold winter, oppressive heat in June means a long, hot summer, and we just know to endure.  But just as cold and snow makes cabin fever a very real and cantankerous malady, heat alleviated only by sitting in the AC all day, gives rise to some very cranky adults who suddenly turn into petulant children, sniping at every thing is sight. 

So I mindlessly rise up after a night's sleep that is already pushing 75 degrees at day break, feeling anything but refreshed, only thinking I needed to get as much done outside as possible before it became unbearable to be outside.  The fact that generations of people, my ancestors included, had lived through heat spells and survived without murdering their spouse, and did it without AC, hasn't helped much.  I look at a picture from a 4th of July celebration in beautiful, downtown Brant and notice immediately that everyone is wearing long sleeves and the men are even wearing jackets.  Yes, they did dress up for events back then.  There was no Friday casual and certainly no holiday leisure.  Despite having the convenience of electricity and the wonder of air conditioning, we still manage to be cranky, short tempered and impatient when the weather doesn't bow to us.  I have news for all of you, WE are not in control. 

The ending to the present mini heat wave came on Tuesday, the annual local ice cream social put on by the Historical Society of Hemlock.  This bunch has kind of dwindled to three old ladies and a "just slightly younger lady", ME, scooping and being the committee of ice cream presenters.  I was not looking forward to standing in 100 degree heat scooping ice cream that would be the consistency of custard before I got a third of the way down the four gallon buckets.  I imagined the crowd would be down as most would prefer to sit in their AC or at the least in front of a fan than all the ice cream sundaes and free music on the museum grounds could afford.  I was right, as the crowd was down, and in a way our stab at nostalgia was as bygone as the fact that people don't go to summer celebrations dressed in long sleeves or summer jackets, the ladies in hats of some kind,any longer.  100 years ago, they would have loved this annual picnic.  It would have been a cause for celebration, to socialize, to beat the heat with good ice cream and summer toppings.  They would have sat under huge shade trees or in the bandstand, Hemlock once provided.  The bandstand has been gone more years than anyone living can remember and the shade trees are now ash trees, dead from the emerald ash borer.  As we are so fond of saying, "It is what it is", and we go ahead and do the ice cream social.  I scooped ice cream that all too soon turned pudding consistency, but for the small crowd of older folks who showed up they were happy and grateful to just come.  The weather was something to talk about and something to remember along with other summer's of great heat.  And they came because it was the chance to get out and talk to people.  It is the very human need that fosters all celebrations and gatherings.

I could choose to be grumpy as I scooped mushy ice cream, or I could choose to enjoy the company of people who perhaps wouldn't be here next year.  I could smile on the young politician trying to garner votes among the people who still vote, religiously, for the office he was seeking.  He seemed to genuinely enjoy being out and among these people and that's a good thing.  We choose to endure and we choose to get through the rough spots.  How we do those things makes all the difference.

I listened to a stirring rendition of Amazing Grace the other day, forwarded to me by an Army buddy of Kurt's.  I always love Amazing Grace, but when its done with a full complement of Scots bagpipers and drums, it sets my soul to soaring.  There just are musical pieces that do this to me.  Music can instantly transport me to a great memory or just cause my heart to swell in some way I can only say is awesome.  I thought of the extremes the Scots endure in land and weather and how they endure.  They appreciate the good because the bad is so often a part of their lives.  They are stronger for having endured and their music speaks of endurance.

We didn't get the rain though thunder boomed and lightning popped later that night.  Some areas did get a good soaking, but not us.  So, I drag around a hose, and say a small prayer that I am not being foolish to water some daylilies and pray that the well holds up.  Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound....rain would be a sweet sound right now also.....

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