The Idle American: Running Hot and Cold…

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Dr. Don Newbury
Dr. Don Newbury

Whatever it was that Mother Nature interpreted as efforts to fool her, deepest apologies are offered. The topic is broached only at summer’s end, when the torrid heat now is mostly a dismal memory. Most of us have endured well over two months of 100+ temperatures, and only recently have we managed weak smiles when friends pose the tired old “hot enough for you?” question.

Truth is, I’ve filed away some “hot” stories, figuring you are “up to here” with yarns even remotely associated with sweat, bulging thermometers or eggs frying on sidewalks.

One report too cruel to reveal in August detailed sightings of chickens balking at road-crossing, except in the deep of night….

* * * * *

In late July, a Lubbock realtor passed along a first-person experience that made me smile, mostly because I heard the account in air-conditioned comfort. “That’s a story I’ll have to hold until the weather is cooler,” I explained.

Now, with Indian summer a few bends in the road ahead, the story can be told. The realtor said he was summoned to the modest home of a retired school teacher. Deep into her sunset years, she admitted it was time to check into an assisted living center.

Thus, her call to sign on for a real estate listing….

* * * * *

“When I arrived at her home, she was dressed up, fit for high church,” the realtor noted.

“She offered tea and crumpets–items foreign to most Lubbock menus–with most of the dining table cleared for paperwork. Pens, pencils, pads and tape measures were at the ready for completion of realty forms.”

He said most blanks were quickly filled in, since most details about her home had been locked in her memory for decades. He asked her the width of the lot, agreeing that the figure of 50 feet she estimated seemed about right. “How deep is it?” he questioned.

She paused, a victim of utmost puzzlement. “How deep?” she repeated. “Why all the way to hell, I guess.”…

* * * * *

Speaking of hades, how about that billboard message that hit home? It read: “The devil called, and he wants his weather back.”

Oppressive heat has resulted in slow motion. Trips between air-conditioned points have been minimized.

One guy deserves massive sympathy. The temperature on the bank thermometer showed 110 degrees, and it was several notches higher inside the truck.

His shirt drenched with sweat, he was in “hurry up” delivery to a big-box store, since his orders reminded “ASAP delivery.” So, he quickened his pace. After all, he wouldn’t want to be blamed for the delay of Santas, reindeer, sleighs and elves for the Christmas displays….

* * * * *

Who woulda guessed a nine-year-old grandson could make his “G-Mom” (grandmother) put heat in its place?

Drew LeBow, new to Texas after several years in Madrid and Honduras, couldn’t believe she hadn’t flipped the temperature numbers in her car to Celsius. “40.5 degrees Celsius seems a lot cooler than 105 degrees Fahrenheit,” he explained.

She humored him on the kilometer change, too, and wonders if the traffic officer will buy her excuse about confusion between KPH and MPH….

* * * * *

Both hot and cold: It was a hot July day a lifetime ago when the driver of sleek air-conditioned car stopped to pick up a hitch-hiker. The farm boy, who had never heard of air-conditioning, shivered in amazement.

“Where you going, son?” the driver asked.

“Well, I was going to town to see a movie, but since this norther has blown in, I’d better head back home and help dad with hog-killin’.”…

* * * * *

How about a “cool” experience–the kind that seems always to happen to someone else?

Back in 1985, Jack and Gladys Gray moved to Colorado from Commerce, Texas. They left behind their phone number–903-886-6880–one long since memorized. Fifteen years later, they returned to Commerce.

As he “re-upped” for utilities, he perused available phone numbers. Since 903-886-6880 was on the list, he took it. (Somehow, he doubts that they saved it all those years, just in case the Grays returned to Commerce!)…

* * * * *

Uncle Mort called this week, wanting to know if those new-fangled “electric” cigarettes come with extension cords.

When topics switched, he said a mouthful.

According to Mort, “The problems we face today are the result of people who work for a living being outnumbered by those who vote for a living.” He may well be right, but the thought leaves me cold….

* * * * *

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Send inquiries/comments to Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site:


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