The Long, Hot Summer
If one more person tells me that this is going to be "an awful, record-breaking, hot summer," I may just have to figure out some way to even the score.
We started looking down this way as a place to live back in 2005 or so, we moved down in 2008, and let me tell you the summers we came to investigate this area were HOT.
But everyone told us they were "so unusual, just not the way it really is." I wish I had taken names.
So, after a mild winter, the promise seems to be a HOT summer. Now, hot summers when I was a kid, back during the War of the Roses, meant rising early so as to hit the garden weeding before the sun rose too high in the sky. We had, for many years, a large vegetable garden. My father, bless his heart and may his name be remembered with joy and affection, traveled. He put in the garden of too many tomato plants, long rows of corn, lettuce and all the rest, then went off driving his territory as a salesman.
This, for the younger reader, was way before everyone, but I mean everyone, flew. Flights were for top executives and the wealthy. They were also comfortable, and people dressed up to fly. None of your PJ wearing travelers then, it was an occasion.
But Dad drove many states and was gone from a few days to a few weeks depending on what he needed to do.
So, who took care of the garden?
Karen and I were the "children of all work" as a Victorian novel might say. My mother had the house and at least one baby still in cloth diapers. Now, lest I sound like Karen and I hopped to it with joy and devotion, we were quite normal in the "it can wait" or "we want to play" departments.
This simply delayed the inevitable weeding until it was too hot or even getting dark. The terrible truth about weeding is, do it early and often or do it all the time and never, ever beat it down. We tended to lean toward the latter method.
I can hear my mother's voice even now. "Get out there and start weeding or else!" You did not want to get to "or else" if you could help it.
But the heat, which is what I am thinking of, could be killing. There was, however, the blessed cold water out of a garden hose, sweet and icy cold from our well. There was the delicious taste of a hot tomato run under that cold water so as to wash it off and mix the heat and the cold to a perfect blend of flavor. I never was more refreshed, and tomatoes never have tasted as good to me.
But here, in lovely Pinehurst and environs, I detest the oppressive heat of the last several summers. It takes your breath away, and one cannot seem to get clear of it.
I often thought last summer of going to the lake, but gosh, it was so hot even in the morning, so very humid, all I did was go from air-conditioned space to air-conditioned space. It was like being on house arrest.
And all the folks who swore that the summer heat we felt when we were looking at this area now say, "What were you expecting? This is North Carolina."
Well, how they changed their tune. I expect to see pants on fire all over town when I bump into the same folks who not seven years ago swore it was just an anomaly.
Well, I can only hope they are wrong about this summer, pray I can get to the lake this year and keep watching "March of the Penguins" to make me feel better.
Just promise me that the next couple who ask what summers are like, you will tell the truth and remind them that we more than make up for it with our gorgeous fall, ridiculously mild and beautiful winters and lovely, but brief spring. Remind them that we are full of culture and history and lore but try not to outright lie to them.
Summer. Hot and humid and awful. That is what we have. Pass me an unsweet and stay out of my way.
Joyce Reehling lives in Pinehurst. She retired here from New York after a 33-year career in theater, TV and commercials.
More like this story