Surviving the Heat

Posted on July 10, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

The heat has been brutal. With reports of 105 in places like Chicago and 104 in St. Louis, what must Mississippi be like? A week ago when we were in Columbia, SC the temperature hit 109, and we arrived home to find our yard parched in spite of investment in a sprinkler system. Patches of new grass sod didn’t make it, and several azaleas are bare branches hovering over dry, fallen leaves on the ground.

What amazes me in my retirement venture into horticulture is the way certain grasses and weeds thrive in this kind of weather. We had been gone only one week and alien grasses had sprung up in my thoroughly mulched flower beds. Bobbye has been helpful in this dilemma once we worked out an agreement that I would pull the weeds while she would administer the supplemental watering.

However, another dilemma was how to manage a summer sports highlight of Wimbledon moving into the final rounds with the need to do serious yard rehabilitation. Do I get out early in the morning while it is still cool and miss Wimbledon, or watch the tennis matches and then work in the extreme heat? Wimbledon won out on most days and I have had to accept the cost of acclimatizing to Mississippi summers.

Following sports is my primary entertainment diversion so the mid-summer slump is difficult to endure. I get into major league baseball during the play-offs, but find it hard to enjoy the sleep-inducing pace of regular season games. Once the NBA play-offs are history, bowling, poker tournaments, European soccer and guys riding small bikes up and down ramps don’t have much appeal. The French Open tennis and U.S. Open golf did provide some couch potato time, as well as a weekly NASCAR race (did you see those massive pileups at Daytona last week?), but football can’t get here soon enough. In the meantime the London Olympics will suffice, but again that will create a dilemma of infringing on morning chores.

Speaking of football, it would be great if the 4th of July could be moved to football season. Just like Thanksgiving, it would be great to grill out with family and friends, shoot off a few fireworks, and then chill out watching a battle on the gridiron. Instead, we celebrated our nation’s independence with a relaxing day, grilling some ribs and eating watermelon. America has a lot of problems with economic stress, moral decline and questionable public policies. But when one has lived overseas and traveled around the world as we have, our heritage and freedom is worth celebrating. Not many countries allow such freedom of expression and enjoy the level of prosperity that still characterizes our society. Most of the people in the world still live under oppression, stifled by class distinction, subjected to the whims of corrupt, power-hungry political leaders. July 4 reminds us there was cost in securing our freedom, on the part of our founding fathers and those who continue to defend our democratic way of life and human rights on battlefields around the world.

Well, back to immediate concerns, it appears the little flower garden carved out of a barren patch of dirt along the streetside corner of our lot may survive. The dwarf roses and black-eyed susans amidst the muhly grasses and junipers are thriving and new crepe myrtle blossoms are adding background color for the enjoyment of passing traffic.

2 Comments on “Surviving the Heat”

  1. Betty Jo Hudson

    If you have a DVR, you can record those great sports events in the early morning while you are out working in the yard. Then when you come in, you have your sports waiting, and you can have instant replay if someone takes your attention away for a minute. Helps make our retirement better. Just in case you’re interested.
    Betty Jo

  2. Growing Grandchildren | Down Home in Mississippi

    […] this is not a follow-up post on my gardening and yard work. After reflecting on the excessive heat in the last post we did enjoy rain showers everyday this past week. It is hard to think of anything more relaxing […]

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