Published on August 3, 2021

How the older crowd used to handle summer

By Edward A. Forbes / The Bulletin

I open the door and surprise - It’s raining. It would be more surprising if it weren’t.

It seems that it has rained every day. The humidity is so high that house flies, which I have seen more of than in a long while, are fighting to get in the door. I have two paltry dragonflies that I notice in the backyard. I don’t know if that is normal, or if the county is doing a bang-up job controlling mosquitoes, and the dragonflies are looking for food elsewhere.

July was my birthday month (thank you), and I had to wait until the last day (the 31st) to be official. We all know what the next day brings - August. Teachers go back to work; students report on Aug. 18 in the Angleton schools, and there’s the heat. I know we already have had “the heat,” but August is typically associated with heat, and it always seems more intense.

As a youth, I was glad that our non-air-conditioned school’s year ended in May. We didn’t have to sit in a hot, breathless room. That didn’t mean, of course, that April and May couldn’t be punishing. We did what we could to beat the heat. I think we just ignored it and continued with work and play activities.

I used to tell my children that if we walked to town over the hot asphalt, we had the old-fashioned version of tire-sandals accumulated on our feet. It was good enough to last the summer!

The guys who played football in those days got to enjoy workouts twice daily in August. The coaches of yesteryear seemed to be of the belief that too much water wasn’t good for you and were liberal in their use of “salt tablets.” Fortunately, this has been reversed by athletic trainers and education.

Water or its equivalent is plentiful during these hot days and loading up on salt with decreased blood volume (due to fluid loss from sweating) is potentially harmful.

And don’t we all enjoy getting into our cars after they have been sitting in the hot sun? How do you cool off that oven-like temperature inside?

The absolute best way is to roll down the windows (open the roof if that’s an option as hot air rises), open and shut the driver door, or any door, four or five times to pump out some of that hot air. The outside air, although hot, is probably 30-plus degrees cooler than that inside the car. Then start driving as soon as possible; the increased RPM’s help the A/C cool faster.

If you don’t use one of the various windshield screens, you better put on gloves before grabbing the steering wheel. Some old practices still have validity.

Hats, long sleeves, and protection for the back of the neck are all standard attire for the people that work long hours in the blistering sun. Sunscreens are necessary to protect skin from sun damage that can lead to skin cancer in later years.

I guess the point of all this is to remind all that many of us grew up in the summer heat and learned to deal with it. Enjoy the rest of your summer, spend time on outdoor activities and use common sense to protect yourselves and your loved ones from the damaging sun rays and the heat.

And, don’t let video games and TV deprive your youngsters of all the benefits that summer offers - unless, of course, it’s another rainy day.

(Edward Forbes wants to hear from you. Email him at eforbes1946@gmail.com or send comments by snail mail to The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX. 77516.)