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Harris Blackwood: It’s hot — so what? It’s August in Georgia
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

I am not going to get into a debate about climate, but I can tell you it was hot last week.

But hot weather in August in Georgia is not a new phenomenon.

I grew up in an old house that did not have central air conditioning. I am old enough to remember when having wall-to-wall carpeting and central air conditioning was a relatively new thing.

I can remember having a box fan that pulled air from the outside across the room. I would go to sleep on a summer night with the curtains dancing from the force of the fan and the light from a streetlight would create images across the ceiling.

Summer days were spent in the hot sun and we didn’t know much about skin cancer. I didn’t lie out in the sun, but just playing outside yielded a pretty significant tan by the middle of the summer.

These days, we walk out of an air-conditioned house into an environment where it is 20 degrees hotter. No wonder it feels so hot.

Our next stop is an air-conditioned car. Our car when I was a kid had 2-60 air-conditioning — two windows down and driving 60 miles per hour.

I heard a newscaster speaking about a number of classrooms where air-conditioning was not working.

Not that I walked to school in the snow or anything like that, but I made it through all my elementary school without the benefit of air-conditioning.  I’m not suggesting we go and turn off the cooling units at a nearby school. First and foremost, they don’t have a wall of windows like we did.

I spent time with my dad on our front porch on many summer nights listening to the Atlanta Braves on radio. Was it hot? Yes. But did we live with it? Again, yes.

In the early part of the evening, folks would go walking by. If you knew them, you’d throw up your hand and wave.

We acquired a window air-conditioner a few years later when my mama fell and broke her hip and was inside during the heat of the day. After she was better, I don’t remember turning it back on.

We somehow act like hot weather in Georgia is a foreign concept. Look at the weather data; we have years that were hotter and some that were cooler.

This year, we had enough rain early on that Lake Lanier is nearly full. We haven’t had the double whammy of hot weather and drought, but it doesn’t take long for that to change.

I think back on the countless hours I spent outside in the summer. Did I break a sweat? Sure, and I also came home with a coating of dirt many days. Mama would make me a sandwich and a snack and I was doing something in the yard all day.

We hear more and more about kids who are already having health problems due to inactivity and weight issues. The same thing happens to grownups when they do the same thing.

I’m not ready to shut off the cool air, but all of us would be better off if we spent a little more time outdoors enjoying the beautiful creation.

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

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