Friday, July 22, 2011


“Can you believe this weather?” and “Stay cool” are the catch phrases in use everywhere you go as our region dips its toe into the fringes of Hades. Not being a big fan of the heat, I’ve been hanging out in climate controlled environments, venturing out just enough to crank up the Fusion’s A/C to travel to Walgreen’s. Figure I’ve nothing to prove by playing golf in triple-digit heat, or accompanying the youngsters to a bacteria-infested public pool. Of course my sympathies and appreciation go to all who must work in this mess. But, not being one of them, I am doing my part for world peace by staying cool.

I know we had these temperature spikes growing up. We coped by spending quality time in the dark of the basement, making forts under an old kitchen table or playing run-ups with a rolled-up sweatsock ball, designed to not break windows. We nailed some pretty nifty hook slides into a folded-up throw rug base on that slick concrete floor. Our post-WWII bungalow was cooled with an attic fan, until we scored some window unit air conditioners, loud as 747’s, one in the dining room and the other nestled in mom and dad’s room. As we got older, and more able to branch out unsupervised, there was the Spanish Lake Bus trip to River Roads Mall, that modern wonder of it’s day, where an afternoon was spent trolling the concourse, annoying shop keepers and passers-by alike. It was there I perfected my two-fingered whistle, much to my friend’s amusement. Nice echo power in that mall, by the way. Then there was the bowling alley on the lower level, with its aromatic mix of cigarette smoke and lane wax. Spencer’s Lanes was known for its multiple pool tables with pastel cloth on the table tops, and sported a certain “rough” clientele, which to 14 year old boys, was the coolest thing about the place.

In the evenings, we’d trek up and down the hills of our neighborhood to the Dairy Queen on Bellefontaine Road, armed with a few bucks. The quarter cones were as big as a size 10 Chuck Taylor Converse High Top, and a cherry Mister Misty was a guaranteed brain freeze. Hours of our youth were idled by, sitting on the adjoining hill, making wisecracks about the patrons as they came and went, and hoping some girls would drive by and offer us a ride. Which, of course, never happened, but guys being guys, hope sprung eternal.

These days, I see sweet reminders of those lazy days when we visit the local custard stands with the little ones. Cold confections, hot pavement, steamy night air, the incessant buzzing of fat June bugs against the yellow neon lights, the “cree, cree” of locusts at sunset…

Some things never change.

But tonight, I’m gonna pop a cold frosty one and slide that thermostat down just a hair in my lovely central air castle.

Well, maybe some things do change, after all.