‘Letter From Home’ 6/23/09

This is the first of what will be a periodic column on this blog concerning my thoughts while out on my stoop, and front lawn in Madison.

It has always been said that the weekend of Madison’s much loved “Art On The Square” in the middle of July was when we could expect the hottest and most uncomfortable temperatures and humidity of the summer.  Those ‘predictions’ of sticky weather, when tens of thousands converge around the Statehouse each summer, turn out to be about as correct as the weather from the Old Farmers Almanac, which means more often than we care to think about given how the predictions for both are made.  After the scorcher today however, it seems doubtful that July’s annual art show can top this.

A new friend from Letona, Arkansas (near Searcy) wrote today in response to an email I had sent over the weekend.  I had sent a ‘Happy First Day of Summer’ note, along with some pictures.  I noted at that time of the writing that it was warm, but not hot in Madison.  She responded in a good natured way that some “friends in cool climates can’t help bragging a little.”  I wrote back today that it was 96 degrees outside.  She let me know I was not alone.  “I feel a bit better since you are only 15 degrees cooler than us.  (Arkansas had heat indexes in the 110’s) I opened the door for the dogs, they refused to go out and I thought I would blister before I could get the door closed. IT IS HOT.”

As I write at 11:00 P.M. it is 80 degrees in Madison, and the dew point is 70 degrees.  This weather more typical of August seems so out of place after a long cool and wet spring.  While the plants are loving it, (the sunflowers have grown over four inches since Friday) the other things outdoors are less pleased it seems. 

This afternoon I noticed both robins and starlings on the lawn with their beaks open as if to breathe easier as the air was so oppressive and thick.  Bunnies that normally skipped and frolicked were lethargic and dull-acting as they tried  to find a safe shaded places to rest.  Even the human animals that put on fancy running attire, and work on their cardiovascular systems were less numerous today.  There was no sense in even trying to put on the brave front and run today when all one would have done was go a short distance before needing to turn around.  No one wants the neighbors to see that!  Better to just sit in the shade and admit it is too darn hot to even try.

This evening while sitting outside I was thinking about the death of Ed McMahon.  Back when Johnny Carson made the  Tonight Show special, and the weather was out of the norm, Carson might remark in his monologue, ‘man, it was hot today’, and Ed in his droll way would reply with audience participation, “how hot was it?”  Then Carson would rebound with a witty line that seemed completely off the top of his head, accented with one of his classic hand gestures.  “It was so hot today I saw a robin build it’s nest using ice cubes”.  At which point Ed would laugh and snicker as if he had not seen that line coming.  The robin was often used for weather jokes, as in the winter when it was so cold “I saw a robin put a worm in a crock pot.”

With the death of Ed McMahon another face of the pop culture that had always been a part of our life is gone.  Somehow that makes me feel a bit older tonight.  I resonate more with the older faces and characters on TV than the new ones that seem so one-dimensional. 

As I sat outside this evening pondering the day, I was most grateful there was no reason to be active.  Concerts on the Square start on Wednesday, but is walking to the square, and sitting and sweating with tens of thousands in the heat worth it?  I have never missed opening night of the concerts for many years.  Is it the heat, or am I getting older?

The hum of our central air might be the perfect backdrop to a CD of classical music on the stereo tomorrow night.

One thought on “‘Letter From Home’ 6/23/09

  1. Marion From Maine

    It’s raining AGAIN and cold! We’re lucky to get any warmth above 60 deg. here this year. It’s stays so cold that we haven’t started the pool yet as the room won’t stay warm enough and I’d be wasting my heat money.

    Just last week we had frost alert in Northern Maine.

    I haven’t even plugged my AC in yet either. We use the fire place about every night to warm the livingroom and I still wear my winter blanket shirt during the day.

    Only good thing is wet and cold breeds no flies or mosquitoes

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