There’s a heat dome covering the South. Clear blue skies mean another day without rain and new record temperatures. The once lush, green, soft lawns have now all turned brown and crunchy. There’s no rain in sight. This is starting out to be one of the hottest summers on record.
Could the global warming myth actually not be a myth after all? Just walking from the car to the house makes you break out into a sweat. The Wife heard me complaining that it was hot outside.
“You’ve lived in Georgia all your life. Complaining that the summer here is hot is like folks at the North Pole complaining because it’s cold. You’ve got a snowball’s chance it’s not going to be hot here during the summer.”
Smiling, I replied, “What a great idea! Exactly what I’m hoping for – a snowball’s chance.”
The Wife shot me an inquisitive look, then ventured inside for some air-conditioning. Turning around, I got back into the car and started on my mission. Time to beat all this heat the old fashioned way: The Flamingo Street way.
A cul-de-sac outfitted with a fire hydrant. That’s what I was looking for. I had to find a road less traveled with a fire hydrant just like the one we used on Flamingo.
Whenever temperatures on Flamingo hit 90, the fire hydrant down in the cul-de-sac in front of Old Mrs. Crabtree’s house somehow “magically” came on. None of us kids really knew how such a thing could happen. At least, that’s what we told the police and firefighters when they arrived.
Being a firefighter for over 27 years and now retired, I know turning on hydrants for summertime fun isn’t the right way to cool off. (But it sure was fun back in the day.) Not wanting to break the law, I had to try something else to beat the heat.
A cold water creek and long rope. As luck would have it, I had both. After fighting off the ever-increasing army of spider crickets in our basement, I retrieved the rope. Then I drove to the creek located at the bottom of our subdivision.
There, standing on the near bank, was a giant oak tree with a massive limb reaching over the creek. Have to admit, at age 61, climbing the tree, crawling out and tying a rope to that limb wasn’t as easy as it was when I was a kid back on Flamingo.
For one reason, I was much younger. Another, it was Goofy Steve who did the climbing of the giant oak that stood on the near bank at the bend in Cripple Creek just behind Old Mrs. Crabtree’s house.
Once it was tied, we spent all summer performing crazy flips from the rope and plunging into the arctic blue cool waters of the creek — just like our granddaughters, Little One and Sweet Caroline, are gonna do this summer with Yours Truly at our subdivision creek.
Unfortunately, we have brown, not blue, waters, but they are still refreshingly freezing cold.
Water balloons and snowballs. Armed with buckets of water balloons, Goofy Steve, Bubba Hanks, Neighbor Thomas, Preston Weston III, Ski, the kid we all called Booger, me and my three brothers battled Down the Street Bully Brad and his gang all summer. Win or lose, it was just clean, cool fun.
But not as cool as the July snowball fight. My Brothers and I made and stored two-dozen snowballs in mom’s basement freezer from the last snowstorm that first year we lived on Flamingo. Come July, there wasn’t a snowball in sight when we retrieved them. Now hard as rocks, we pulverized the snowballs with hammers and then remade them.
Bully Brad and his gang, who were armed for another water balloon battle, were no match for an avalanche of snowballs. Our side won handily. After that first year, the July 4th snowball fight became an annual event on Flamingo.
Whether it’s a fire hydrant “magically” getting cut on, dropping from a rope swing over a cold-water creek, endless water balloons, or even a July 4th snowball fight, here’s hoping you and yours find at least one fun way to cool off this summer — just like we did a long, long time ago on that old familiar street not so far away called Flamingo.
[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog: storiesbyrick.wordpress.com.]