Hot as I can remember


I didn’t grow up in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, but my home in Yazoo County was close to it.

I became a Delta resident later in life when I attended Delta State University.

I can hardly remember a time in my childhood or when I was going to college when it was as hot outside as it has been over the past few days.

Of course, when you’re a child, things are different. It might have been as hot during some of those 1990s summers I grew up in, but you noticed it a lot less.

Part of my childhood, I grew up with a large hill in my backyard. Most every summer, my dad would go and buy a 100-foot visqueen tarp.

He would roll it down the hill and run a water hose to it. It was better than any slip n’ slide you’d buy at the store.

It was wide enough that a bunch of people could jump on it and slide down all at once.

Needless to say, in the hot Mississippi summers of my youth, most all my cousins and a few friends would end up at our house at some point to slide down the slide a few times.

It was the second best thing to having a pool.

One summer, though, I guess they were running low on the clear tarps, and my dad purchased a black tarp.

I can remember the weatherman saying that the heat index was something close to 110 degrees.

We rolled that dark tarp down the hill and we put the hose on it and let it run for a good hour.

Over a dozen of us kids had lined up to be the first down the hill.

After waiting a long time, my cousin Todd had enough. He was determined to hit the tarp.

He got a running start, and when his rear hit the black, he shot back up with a shout.

The water was no match for that sun/black tarp combination.

We had to wait a little while longer to safely slide, and that summer, we put off getting on the tarp until it was closer to dark.

Back then, we could stand around for hours in the sun, and it never seemed to bother us.

We would ride bikes, swing on the tire swing and spend very little time inside when it was daylight.

As I got older, though, I seemed to become more aware of the sun.

As a jogger in my twenties, I learned that around June 1, I had to give up the outside running and get on a treadmill - that is if I wanted to keep my same pace.

A couple of weeks ago, we took Ellie and Sarah to the beach for the first time.

As expected, the girls never seemed to be fazed by the scorching sun.

I made it outside about an hour each day, and I was done.

Whenever I come home from work, Ellie begs me to take her out to the pool.

And when I do, I have to drag her back inside.

I don’t know what causes children to be able to sustain in the heat for so long, but now that I have two, I’m going to have to get some thicker skin.

You know what they say, the Earth isn’t getting any cooler.


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