Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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June 7, 2014

The beginning of summer in Texas a hot time

Athens — Texas is known for many wonderful things.  We see it in the movies, read about it in books and many of us cherish its attributes every day of our lives.

Being born in McKinney, and raised in Waco, San Antonio and later living in Houston, and yet later in Athens, I can say without hesitation that Texas is a wonderful place to live.

However, with the beginning of summer, it seems the heat is on.  It appears it is on right now.

I remember a time in my childhood in Waco when the television weatherman noted that everyday for about 60 days, the high temperature for each day was in the the three digits.  And get this – the second digit was a 1.

Yes, every day over that time period, the high temperature for that day was between 110 and 119.  Many days it was 115 or 116.

So, how hot is that for the average person?  For the average Texan, it is hot, but not beyond belief.  If you have lived in Texas for a few years, you likely have seen the temperature much like that on a desert area in the summer.  It’s also likely that you have experienced sunburn.

I remember when I was a tot that our homes did not have central air.  It was instead, a window fan.  Or perhaps, it was one of those water air conditioners, where coolness was extracted from water, and sent into the air for us to enjoy.

Actually, there was a time during my childhood when there were no devices to help cool a residence at all in our homes.  We just opened the windows, day or night, and hoped for cool air to somehow materialize.

As for automobiles, I believe there were very few with air conditioning.  When you rode along, you knew it wouldn’t be long before you reached your destination, so you didn’t really worry about it, while you took a towel, and wiped the sweat off your face, arms and hands.  When you got where you were going, you sometimes looked like you had been in a shower with your clothes on.  Certainly, your shirt or blouse looked like you have been out working in the heat.

I believe it was 1958 when some of our relatives from Ohio came down for a visit – a hot visit!

Honestly, the children had never experienced that kind of heat.

The boys wanted to feel like men who were not bothered by anything uncomfortable.  After a while, they gladly joined the women near the fans.

Certainly, that summer, like any summer in Waco, a water hose with holes in it, spewing forth water in the air to water not only the lawn, but the children (sometimes the adults) on the lawn, was used widespread.

One of my cousins who came with the family from Ohio actually got sick from the heat, and had to have ice applied to her skin. Of course, that felt great to any of us at that time.

I lived in Houston for 33 years, beginning with the time I went to college there.  I remember thinking that was at least one of the most humid places I had ever been.  Even with air conditioning in the vehicle you were driving, a towel was a welcome item to take along – day or night!

So, is this my way of complaining about the weather in Texas?  No, not at all.

There was a time that I thought it would be nice to move to Ohio, and be near all my mother’s family.  I thought that maybe the summers would be more tolerable.

But then, I remembered what my aunts and uncles and cousins had told me about the struggling to get around in the winter.

No, Texas with its heat in the summer is just fine!

Jeff Riggs is Associate Editor of the Athens Daily Review.

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