Summer Blazes In
It’s here! The actual start of summer has arrived. But for many folks in Shady Pines Story Town, it’s felt like summer for weeks now. Temperatures this June and even before that, have been soaring into the high 90’s. The air often feels like it’s 100 degrees or more.
Over at The Shady Pines Gazette news office, editor Zulah Talmadge has made a decision. She needs to get out and report on summer heat in the South.
“You have to admit this region has all sorts of weather extremes,” says Zulah as she looks for her tape recorder. “I mean we have tornadoes, droughts, fires, and of course we’re smack dab into hurricane season right now. But heat is a separate category!”
She heads downtown to Main Street to see what people are saying about this toasty start to the summer season.
Before she can pop into Maggie’s Diner where gosssip is served up right along with that day’s special sandwich, Zulah runs into Kim Dunworthy. Mail carrier Kim is coming out of Cup ‘O Joe’s coffee shop.
Clearly she has her hands full.
“Hey Kim, may I help you?” asks Zulah.
“Oh, yes Ms. Zulah. That’s very kind of you,” says Kim as she stoops and tries to collect the packages and letters she’s dropped. “I think I got a little ambitious about the number of things I could carry at one time.”
Zulah leans down and helps her collect the scattered items. “While you’re here Kim, maybe you can help me out.”
“Sure. What do you need?”
“I’m doing a story about summer heat in the South, ” says Zulah. “You grew up in neighboring River City, what’s your take?”
“I look at the summer heat as our very own sweat badge of courage,” says Kim. “We seem to cope with sweltering heat that would undo most folks. And, in the words of my momma, we handle it gracefully.”
Zulah chukles as she makes notes in her reporter’s notebook. “That’s great. Thank you Kim. See ya later.”
“See ya Ms. Zulah.”
It’s not enough for Southerners to bravely endure the heat. One thing Zulah knows for sure. They love to talk about it. She decides to do some man – and women – on the street interviews.
“Excuse me ma’am. I’m Zulah Talmadge with The Shady Pines Gazette. When I say summer heat, what comes to mind?”
The stately lady in the flowing dress and wide brimmed hat dabs her face with her hankerchief. “As a Southern woman, I say we don’t sweat. We glisten.”
Zulah nods. “Got it.”
Here are some other reactions Zulah heard.
People Are Talking
- It’s not the heat – it’s the humidity
- It’s hotter than Blue Blazes
- Is it hot enough for ya?
- Man, it’s hot as all get-out!
- It must be 90 in the shade
- This one’s gonna be a sorcher
- You could fry an egg on the sidewalk
How Hot Is It Really?
- It’s so hot the swimming pool is boiling
- It’s so hot the ice cream truck has melted
- It’s like a steam bath out here
- I’m wilting
- I’m burning slap up
- Could I stick my face in your deep freeze for just a second?
Be Careful In The Heat
After listening to all the colorful ways her neighbors talk about extreme heat, Zulah wants her article to include a reminder. “This kind of extreme heat can be dangerous, especially to kids, the elderly and to our pets. We really need to take some precautions.”
Zulah finds an article: ‘High temperatures and extreme heat can cause children to become sick very quickly in several ways. It can cause dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat stroke, which is a medical emergency.’ For more information go to: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Protecting-Children-from-Extreme-Heat-Information-for-Parents.aspx
Zulah heads back to The Gazette office with loads of information for her article. She’s discovered some important things.
“It’s amazing how many expressions Southerners can haul out to explain just how dang uncomfortable it really is in our neck of the woods,” says Zulah. “We seem to use humor as a way to deal with extreme situations. At the same time, we need to take dangerous summer heat seriously and watch out for one another.”
And that’s the the most important takeaway of all in the small Southern town of Shady Pines.