A brief hint of Fall

To all the people who believe there is nothing to global warming, I have a hamper full of sweaty shirts to offer as Exhibit A.   I was a kid that grew up working in the watermelon fields, didn’t have air conditioning until the eighth grade, and knew how to blow gnats away with a slight puff of air from the side of my mouth.
Never, ever have I felt as hot as I have this Summer.  I think sometimes that I have become acclimated to the presence of air conditioning everywhere.  Children ride in air conditioned school buses, just as farmers do in their big John Deere tractors.   Every restaurant, store, and home is cooled to a level that would have frozen us just a couple of decades ago.
The temperatures slowly break the records, day after day, and it seems it will go on forever.  You enter the Dog Days and there seems to be no end in sight.  Then when you least expect it, there is the slightest break in the temperature and humidity.
This past weekend, my mother, Jobie, my sister’s family and all of my children and grandchildren made their way to Compass Lake.  Occasionally this can be a chore, especially if you are cooking ribs in unbearable heat.  This time it was special.
I woke up to a steady breeze coming across the lake.   The flag on the dock was flapping in the wind, not stiff, but steadily whipping.  I noticed within 15 minutes of being outside that I wasn’t sweating.   The humidity level was lower and you could feel the difference just walking around.
This was the best day of the Summer, especially at Compass Lake.  Everyone seemed happy, sitting around talking to everyone else.  Henry and Laura, my two oldest grandchildren, spent hours chasing small frogs along the shore.  They caught two and were proud of their achievement.
My youngest grandson, Will, played with his older cousins before becoming bored and heading into the water from the beach.  He and I pretended to be pirates, and he reminded me how imaginative and exciting a young child’s mind can be.
I glanced around as I cooked burgers, watching my daughters talking on the dock and their husbands playing with their children, niece and nephews in the water.  Aunts, grandparents, and even a great grandparent carried on conversations that will be a part of their memories forever.
“I have never seen you swim”, Laura said to her great grandmother Jobie as they both swam off the dock.   It was Laura’s seventh birthday.  As my mother swam away, Laura asked me, “Is that your mother?”   Explaining who is who in a big family tree is a treat with any young child that has an interest.
Fourteen of us were at lunch that day.  No one got up from the table in a rush to do anything else.  The laughter was loud and frequent.  It wasn’t just the older generation telling stories, it was the younger children listening.
This was the best day of the year for me at Compass Lake.  I work to foster the multi-generational relationship building in our family that comes with spending time together.  The weather was cooler.  No one was in a hurry.  The grandchildren were playing together.  The food was good and the company was better.
It was our first faint hint of Fall.   The break in the heat is not permanent, but we have just had a brief taste of the positive things to come.  
Was it the beautiful weather that made the day special?  It certainly helped. But as the aging patriarch of my family, I take great pleasure in just seeing everyone enjoying each other.  
By the time you read this, there may have been rain, scorching heat, and even threats of hurricanes.  No matter.  We have tasted a hint of Fall and it gives us hope about the upcoming change of season.   Enjoy it while you can.
o0o
Dan Ponder can be reached at [email protected]    
         

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