I feel my temperature rising
It’s burning through to my soul
— Elvis Presley
IT’S hard to get a rise out of me, but unless you want to risk a choke hold, do not ask me “is it hot enough for you?” Yes, it’s hot enough. It’s way past hot enough. It’s oppressive.
My friends of similar age call and say “I know it wasn’t this hot in East Texas when we were growing up!” I have to agree. We stayed outside in midsummer for hours at a time, in midday, no sun screen, no air conditioner in the house, and I don’t recall ever being this hot back then. Of course, I was wearing no form of physical insulation back then, and now I have some of nature’s insulation padding me here and there.
Maybe I’ve just gotten used to being in air conditioning at home and in car, and maybe I’ve just gotten used to not going outside in the heat much. While that’s perfectly logical, I’m going to cling to my belief that it really is hotter now.
I did a little checking to see how long it has been since we had this kind of oppressive heat in East Texas. The consensus seems to be that we have not had such a scorching summer in our part of the woods since 1980. I was madly in love that summer, so I remember burning from a different kind of heat. But I digress.
ANY TIME the temperature exceeds 100 degrees for days in a row, it’s too much for this East Tex Son. I thank the Lord I don’t have to work outside unless I’m in a mood to work outside. The wind is not cooling, but a blast furnace.
We hear people say “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” but I don’t see how a dry heat works all that much better than a humid heat. When the temperature is above our natural body heat of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, it always seems too hot to me. I suspect it’s because our entire dermis is painfully aware it’s being slowly baked, and that burning, uncomfortable sensation is telling us “get in some shade!”
It’s not really blistering hot until your first thought upon walking outside from inside is “wow, it’s really hot out here!”
Besides Burning Love by Elvis, the summer heat of 2009 has other old songs floating through my head. Some of you will remember that tune from Irving Berlin, penned a generation before the hip swiveling rock and roll star hit the scene in the 1950s:
We’re caught in a heat wave
A tropical heat wave
Yes, we are. We’re caught in a heat wave, and this good old boy longs for an East Texas gully washer. I’m talking about the sky opening up, Old Testament style, and bringing our parched area that life- giving, garden-saving, burn ban-busting moisture from the heavens.
© 2009, Pappy Moore, All Rights Reserved.
Jim “Pappy” Moore is a native son of East Texas who still makes the piney woods his home. Email: email@example.com