Those lazy-hazy-crazy days of summer on the Gulf Coast

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

Remember when we had below-freezing temperatures last winter? We worried about our water pipes and getting out in the cold. I remember someone saying that she would never complain again about being hot in the summer. But, of course, we always do.

The nice thing about the Texas Gulf Coast is that after a few days of winter we have spring again. People in places like Kansas would give anything for that as they live through long, harsh winters.

By the way, I checked the weather there, and they are hotter than we are. But it is a dryer heat, not as uncomfortable as humid heat.

I was in Phoenix for a writer’s conference some years ago and went swimming in the hotel pool in 103-degree heat. When I came out of the water, the dry air blowing through me created an air-conditioning effect, and I started shivering. Then when I dried off, it got hot again. Very hot.

Here we are in the middle of the hottest days of the year. You cannot go out in the middle of the day without breaking into a sweat. You can’t touch the steering wheel of a car parked under the scorching sun. You cannot leave tools lying around in the sun and then pick them up without burning your hands.

This is the way it is this time of the year, and I’ll take it, but not without air conditioning.

I know that people managed around here before air conditioning was invented. On the coast, they took advantage of the Gulf breeze. Houses were built to maximize air flow. But 95-degree air flow is still 95 degrees. It helps a little, but nothing replaces air conditioning.

I can get used to working in the yard in the summer, but when I am done, it is really nice to come back into an air-conditioned house.

People think I am crazy when I say summer is my favorite time of the year. How could it not be? Lazy summer days on the beach, sitting outside in the evening, no school zones, buying fresh produce at the farmers market, going kayaking or canoeing, taking in a baseball game - or whatever your heart desires - at a slower pace. Less stress, less hassle, more relaxation. And heat.

I worked my way through high school and college at a summer camp, which is where my thoughts about summer was shaped. We worked, but it was not really work, more like having some fun and getting paid for it.

There was more fun than pay, but we didn’t care. It was the 1970s, and money wasn’t that important to us, which was good because we seldom had any.

I’m one of those guys who never complains about the heat, but a lot about the cold. I know that many people around here do this in reverse. Complaining, however, does not fix the weather. You just have to find a place that suits you.

There are many places that are much cooler than along the Gulf Coast, and many that are even warmer. I like the mild winters and the warm summers. That’s why I have hung around here and why you are reading this column - because you have done the same thing.

So, as we muddle through the hot days and watch the kids count down how many summer vacation days they have left, enjoy this special time of the year. We are fortunate to get a bunch of them, and then a little cold spell in the winter months.

It’s time to slap on a bunch of sunblock, fill my RTIC mug with ice water and venture outside for some R&R. Summer is a wonderful time of the year. It seems endless, although it is not. Enjoy it while it lasts.