They Call Her, Shirley
Welp, it’s been hot. And last week I felt as if I were walking side by side with Matthew Broderick as he grunted through basic training in the film, ‘Biloxi Blues.’
‘Man it’s hot. It’s like Africa Hot. Tarzan couldn’t take this kind of hot.’
The rest of us, unlike Broderick’s character, do take this kind of hot. Here in the deep south we’re ‘used to’ heat and humidity in the way that Los Angelinos are ‘used to’ earthquakes and Kansas residents are ‘used to’ tornados. Doesn’t mean we don’t think it’s a big deal, we’re just stuck with it. We find we’re stuck to a lot of things: the back of our shirts, car seats, the hair against our necks. It’s July. It’s sticky, sweltering two-shower-a-day July.
I try to take my mind off it, particularly when it feels too hot to sleep comfortably. Lately, I’ve picked up and have been re-reading chunks of ‘Gone With The Wind’ to help my eyes get tired enough to doze, but all I can think upon the description of Scarlett being laced up in her corset to show off her 17” waist (’the smallest in three counties.’ Now, how could she prove that? Was that a census question?) is how insufferably hot she, and every other ‘Belle’ must’ve been in their acres of petticoats. Which explains all the perfume…
Then I picked up a collection of Jack London stories and begin to read “To Build a Fire” because it’s about a man who ignores warnings from his friends and sets off hiking in dangerously cold conditions in the Yukon, and that made me feel better until I got to the part where, knowing he’s made a mistake and is going to die, tries to kill the Husky (dog, not football player) that’s unwillingly followed him into the wilderness, in order to use its body to keep warm.
I gave up and cranked up the air conditioning for an hour instead.
Ah, but the winds that snaked through the thermal belt of the Blue Ridge brought us glorious relief this week. Just as it protected us from the triple digit heat that covered much of the country for days and days, the breezes soothed our glistening heads and fanned our faces with unseasonable caresses of cool, and I believe you know her name…
‘Maria blows the stars around
Sets the clouds a-flyin’
The mountains sound like folks was out there dyin’
Nice of The Kingston Trio to record that, but truth be told Maria is getting all the credit when in actuality it is her plain little sister, Cold Front, who has delivered us from the heat. And with this in mind, I’ve paid long overdue homage to this oft ignored sibling. Join me, won’t you?
Moving from Northwest to Southeast,
She slays the oppressive air mass beast,
Pushing hot air up to rise,
In she flows, sparks in her eyes,
flinging bolts of lightning and torrential rain,
Unstable, explosive, what’s her name again?
the Cold Front
Alright, maybe not a gold record, but at least now she has a name. And the thermal belt fits her waist (the biggest in three continents!) perfectly.