Long ago in my childhood I’d start out walking down a dusty summertime road barefoot but soon find myself running to reach the next shady spot. When my feet had cooled sufficiently, off I’d go again at a run to reach my destination. Sometimes there would be no shade so I’d have to keep running despite the ‘stitch’ in my side and the unbearable burning in my feet. Why I didn’t wear sandals was anybody’s guess; it must have been against that unwritten summer code. A code that involved blistered feet, splinters, cuts from broken glass, nail punctures and sometimes snake bites. I was lucky that I never stepped on a snake but my feet suffered from all those other things numerous times. The tried and true remedy was to soak the injured foot in Epsom salt water before having some kind of ‘magical’salve applied. Mother, under the tutelage of my grandmother, was quite adept at treating such injuries with medicines obtained from nature and handed down from one generation to the next. She was also a believer in mercurochrome for scratches and insect bites…it burned like heck but it was an an agreeably obvious testament for my plight, whatever it happened to be at the moment.
Not that my mother was against doctors, no not at all. She knew when professional help was needed and saw we got it. We, for instance, were some of the first in line for the polio inoculation when it became available as well as for that nasty small pox vaccination. We were happy to get the polio vaccine because that meant no more restrictions on playing in the summer rain, which for a time was believed to cause polio. And we had a family doctor that was as close as a phone call away and that did most of his business as house calls…he also carried gum and candy in his black bag. We often feigned illness just so Dr. Ed could visit, but mama was a hard one to fool.
Anyway, I digress from my original thoughts which were about the heat of summer. At some point I quit feeling like I must abide by that summer barefoot code and my life became easier and much more pleasant. I surmise it was about the time I discovered boys but I can’t say for sure. Perhaps it was when we moved to town and I only had cement sidewalks to traverse which would have made a huge difference in whether or not I wore shoes.
And this leads me to my main thought about the intense heat here in Texas. It’s as hot as Hades…or as hot as I’ve heard It is. After several days in a row of triple digit weather, the sidewalks and the rock facade on my front porch are like branding irons, searing to the touch. Someone baked cookies on the dashboard of their car the other day. I’m sure I could bake cookies on my front porch in the afternoons. The heat comes right through my shoes as I hustle quickly out to my car or mailbox and the poor little geckos are baked in place clinging to the rock walls. It’s disquieting to see their lifeless forms perching all around my front door where the afternoon sun is too brutal for their escape. I have to sweep them off occasionally just for my piece of mind and I’m getting quite a collection of them on the side. In winter, the afternoon sun is welcome on my porch and I’ll try to keep that in mind as I drag through these dog days of summer. Our last winter was only a light-jacket winter which may have some bearing on the heat we’re experiencing now. I think I’ve learned my lesson; the next time it gets really cold I’ll bite my tongue before wishing for summertime….yea sure I will. Well maybe I really will if I remember all those flash baked geckos. Here’s a stray thought, I wonder if they would make a good snack, you know little crispy baked critters?