I’m contemplating going out to the park to ride my bike this afternoon. Meanwhile, being the avid weather nerd that I am, I looked at the forecast. High around 93 degrees with humidity around 60% with a resulting heat index of around 100-102. It actually brought back memories. I have vivid memories of life in the south as a kid. The summers were scorchers, but we seemed to always find something to cool us off. Back then, moms and dads would tell the kids, “Go outside and find something to do.” Or, they’d tell us, “Go mow the lawn,” or anything to get us out of the house. As dangerous as extreme heat really is, my friends and I came out okay.
Starting off as a kid on Kawanda Lane right behind Huffman High School, me and my best buddies, Chris, Scott, and Walt, would find things to do. We’d play in the sprinkler or go try to catch crawdads in the creek by Randy’s house. The bottom-line with our parents was that we stay busy outside until the street light came on in the cul-de-sac where I lived. A great event that occurred daily during the dog days of summer, was when we heard the familiar sound of the music-box-like tunes in the distance. Each kid would take off to the house to get 50 cents or so. Then we’d all sprint back out to catch the popsicle man. Depending on how much change your mom gave you determined whether you’d get a Push-up, Fudgsicle, Popsicle, Bomb-Pop, or one of the really fancy things that cost about 75 cents. Some days when it was too hot, a parent may decide it was time to go to the public pool. There was one pretty close by in Center Point, but there was an amazing place called, “Cascade Plunge.” It seemed HUGE and had big platforms that seemed like they were 30 feet high that you could jump off of into the COLDEST water in Alabama. It was freezing. But it was fun.
When I was about 9, we moved to Trussville. The only major difference was the names of my friends. Now, Chip, Scott, another Scott, Tommy, Andy, Jimbo, Alan, and others had to bare the intense heat of Alabama summers with me. Again, we’d make do. This time, we had the Cahaba River down a ridge from my neighborhood. We often found deep pools to swim around in. Plus, the area around the river was all wooded which meant SHADE. So, we would spend entire days out in the woods. One day me in some of my friends decided to see how far we could float down the Cahaba. We did this without telling anyone. Bad move in the days before cellphones. We ended up floating from our neighborhood down to Camp Coleman. As a crow flies, it’s probably only two to four miles, but the river winds all over Jefferson County. We were in the river for hours. The 1980’s brought on the first wave of regular people getting in-ground pools. Lucky me, my best friend, Chip had one put in at his house. Later, another of my close friends, Alan and his brother Stephen had one put in. Meanwhile, down the hill in my neighborhood Michelle and Brett had a nice above ground pool with a trampoline right by it. That was also a blast. During this time, my dad, an avid golfer, was not coaching. He was selling insurance. So, he actually had time for other things in the summer. So, he got a family membership first to Cahaba Valley Country Club, and later switched to Grayson Valley Country Club. We were high falutin in the Gerelds’ house at that point. Grayson Valley was the bomb. It had two diving boards. The small one and the 10-foot one. We spent hours at the pool. Anyone who has seen me in shorts knows I haven’t got a lot of melanin. There were a few gnarly sunburns from those days.
When I was 15, my family moved to Tuscumbia. Again, a new influx of friends and new ways of trying to stay cool. My buddies were Bill, William, Al, Hugh, Lew, Kye, Andy, Bob…man, it was like Boystown. Being the coach’s son, lent itself to their being a lot of guys around, plus, my two sisters probably helped in that as well. One of the great aspects of living in the area known as “The Shoals,” was access to the Tennessee River. Man we had fun. Sometimes we went over to the bluffs in Sheffield and jumped probably 40 feet down into the big river. Other times we’d bum off our older friends like Buddy and go out in the boat and ski and tube and just have a great time.
Anyway, I know it’s hot. Some of us probably need to be careful in these type of conditions. But, if you can’t go out, maybe it’s a good day to remember fun times.
Each day we go into the world with the opportunity to make an impact. Each person whose paths cross ours matters. Lives intersect for a reason. I believe there is One who directs our steps to these sometimes seemingly random meetings. My goal for these encounters is that I make a difference. That is my desire for those who venture across my blog. I hope you are blessed and it makes a difference for you.