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Harris Blackwood: I was too busy to notice the heat and humidity
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As I trudged through the sweltering heat, going from the air-conditioned car to the air-conditioned house, I wondered how we survived when I was a kid.

In fact, I decided to look back at the weather of July during my 10th, 11th and 12th years.

Surprise, there wasn’t much difference in the high temperatures. We had a few days when the thermometer reached 97 and a lot of days when it hovered around 90. I also looked at the relative humidity. Not a lot of difference there, either.

I grew up in a house that was not air-conditioned. I went to sleep at night to the hum of a box fan. In fact, if the doors were opened upstairs, you probably heard three or four box fans churning the night air.

I went outside in the morning and either found a friend or busied myself with some project. A project usually involved some idea to make my bike go faster. It usually involved some kind of lubricant, usually 3-in-1 oil, and some adjustments in the air pressure.

When I was 10, I got a Raleigh Chopper bike. It had a knobby tread tire on the back and a smaller tire on the front. I thought it was pretty cool. My dad added the accessory of blinker lights.

If you went to downtown Social Circle, you probably shouldn’t round the corner on to the main drag at a speed where you would need blinker lights, but I enjoyed having them.

I had a gallon jug in my room that served as a depository for any loose change I found or acquired. Usually in the afternoon, I would round up some change and go to Mr. Jim Paul Shepherd’s Gulf station and buy an ice cream. He had one of those giant ice cream coolers with different types of ice cream treats in each compartment. At night, it was secured with a metal frame to keep ice cream thieves away.

An ice cream, usually a hunkie or an ice cream sandwich, cost about a dime. The same amount would buy you a Coke or a Co-Cola, as we would say. He had a tall machine that had the tops of the bottles displayed. Depositing the money would release the door that held the bottle in place.

The afternoon also meant a trip to the town pool. Coach Bobby Tanner, who was the girls’ basketball coach, moonlighted during the summer as the pool attendant. I remember watching the pretty older girls who would lay out in the sun. There was no SPF here. They would coat themselves with baby oil to accelerate the sun.

We had a go-cart, which I would ride in the front yard. Steve Shepherd had one, too. They had a pretty big pasture behind their house and I would drive down the sidewalk and we would go riding.

By the late afternoon, I would usually head home and watch TV until my folks came home from work in Atlanta.

We didn’t have a video game or a smart phone. The only phone we had was a black one and all you could call was people in Social Circle. Why would you call, when you could get on your bike and go see them?

Looking back, I understand why we didn’t think it was hot. We were too busy to notice.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on www.gainesvilletimes.com.