Texas Heat

Sweltering. Steaming. Suffocating.

The heat drains the body’s energy and smothers the mind’s thoughts. I try to keep going.  My heart aches for those who work outside and those without the benefit of air conditioning.

I suppose if I worked in it all day, it would not hit me so hard. I am not conditioned to it.  If one can be conditioned to Southeast Texas in August at midday?  Long after sunset the heat lingers.

I have so much I need to be doing. Inside and out. After getting in a car that has been sitting in the bald open parking lot all day, the last of my will power seeps through my pores and puddles in spots or soaks into my clothes.

I arrive home just wanting to sit quietly and drink a sweet iced tea.

Yesterday, somehow, I did get a few things done. I stopped by the hospital to see about a friend. I did some wash, some mending, repotted (hopefully did not murder) an orchid. I got the outside plants watered.  I put fresh sheets on the bed. I helped him put out hay.

Today, I have been again to see about a friend in the hospital. I have the dryer going. I chopped up some cooked chicken in preparation for chicken and cheese quesadillas for supper.  We will be attending the evening Bible study at our church a little later.

I say all this to remind myself that the Texas heat has not defeated me. Though my mind is sluggish, I am still attending the keyboard.  Good food and clean clothes are at hand.  I am eternally grateful for the central air in our home.

I love summer. I plan to ask for a boat trip to go fishing and swimming this weekend. I’m not sure what is on his agenda.  I want at least one more run before the dog days end.   Him, me, a fast boat and a cold river.  Especially him.

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Adventure

I had a lovely opportunity to chat with one of my favorite people in the world.  My cousin is a few years younger than me.  But, he and I are close enough to have had some adventures when we were children.  Distant and hazy memories of times at our grandparents big house here in East Texas.  Blurred flashes of moments in time at his parents big Rock Church in the cedar brakes on the Paluxy River.  Our older cousin sat with us a moment as well sharing a glimpse back.  The event was to celebrate his mother’s 80th birthday.  She is sister to my father who passed away several years ago.

Driving home from the short afternoon affair held in a community event center, I wondered what was missing in these days.

Adventure.  So much of my time with my family and friends is spent simply gathering for a short meal or brief gathering.  Once upon a time, our families gathered in smaller or larger number to fish, hunt, camp, hike, swim.  Play.  Work.  Celebrate.

I think that is why my 48th birthday last year was so wonderful.  The children, he and I had adventures on the river and at the deer camp.  The trip to Oahu to visit with my son was special because it was an adventure with him.  The trips I take with my daughter to the beach are special because they are adventures with her.  The time I spend with him at the lease or on the boat are special because I never know what might happen next.  Always there are adventures with him.

All adventures don’t have to encompass a long trip or exotic location.  Those kind are wonderful, of course.  But, my thoughts and dreams tend to flow toward any kind of diversion. Whether croquet and horseshoes in the backyard; coon hunting in the woods after dark; floating in the cold clear river waters; sitting around a campfire reflecting on just which way that deer came out and turned before the shot was taken;  sitting silent and still for 24 minutes waiting for does to move away from the food plot unalarmed two months before the season starts;  watching all types of crazy moves on tractors and ATVs; riding along flooded roads and through wildfire smoke filled trails just to see and know;  checking hog traps after dark; watching him chasing hogs through the woods or across the cow pasture shooting at them; being married to him.

Life with him is an adventure.  It takes much of my energy and attention.  I love all of it.  Even when the fish don’t bite my hook and the deer wind me and the red bugs cover me and the wolf spiders try to murder me and the mosquitos bleed me dry.

I would like more adventures with my cousins.  But, this world has changed.  We have changed.  Things have changed.  I must make a new way.  Figure out a new plan.  Try a new adventure.  I will keep following my husband to the ends of the earth or the end of the dirt road.  But, I want to make time for some old time adventure buddies, too.  I miss them.  The kids we were.  The simple things cousins did.  Time together.  Period.  Time together.

Closer to now.  My adventure partners as they looked a little over twenty years ago:

 

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Magical days of childhood, who are these grown-ups I am talking to?  The names are the same.  The faces are oddly familiar.  But, who are they?  I loved the children they were so dearly.  I wish my memory was not so weak.  I would love to recall like it was yesterday, what we said, where we went, how it finished up in the evening.  I will, though, be content with my flashes of sight.  Like old grainy photos of the forgotten past, my mind flashes the sight of our past times on the screen of memory.  Adventures.

 

Precious Liberty

This weekend has been something unexpected. Three days off, so lots of plans to play and see our family and friends. Plans to enjoy the precious freedom paid for by the life blood of countless others. Plans to create more memories of raining orchids.
Saturday, a boating accident very near our play place on the river took the lives of two people and injured another. We noticed debris in the water a few moments before another boater arrived with the news. My husband and our friend went to wait with the victims until the authorities arrived. Seeing body bags go by on the water rescue boat is not expected. I pray I never see it again. I am grateful my family and our younger friends were not with us that day. I am saddened for the loss of the families involved.
Sunday was all we hoped for and more. All the children and our friends had a terrific time swimming and lounging on the river bank. A couple of our precious friends surprised us with an overnight at a bed and breakfast just upriver. We had a lovely Monday morning over breakfast and some wet fishing hooks. The boys caught a few and the canoes didn’t overturn. So, all went well.
Late Monday morning, I arrived home to find my daughter, at my house puppy sitting for me, had taken care of my cooking for us to take to our son’s home. We spent the afternoon grilling and eating and swimming. They decided it would be fun to make a whirlpool in the swimming pool. I was in a floatie with my feet up. My son pulled me around the pool in his wake as the rest of the crew also went round and round creating a whirlpool flow. I laughed and laughed the entire time!
Life has been good to me. I will dwell on all the good and set aside the sad for another day. The orchids of these days have been especially fragrant. They are red, white and blue and smelling like precious life, freedom, liberty and happiness found.
I am ever mindful of the many who did not come home during war time and those who have been lost while keeping ready for war time. He served in the United States Army during peacetime. What a dashing soldier he made! He was and still is my warrior. Without him fighting my demons with me, I would not have gotten where I am today. He has taken on more than flesh and blood enemies on my behalf. He has stood shielding me with his prayers and courage and strength while Christ held him firm and the Father answered his pleas. More than a conqueror. Yes. He is.

 

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Texas Summer

We had Texas Spring for about an hour the other day.  The morning was fresh and clean feeling.  The birds were singing, the scent of flowers wafted, the breeze was light, the sun gentle.  Yes, about an hour the other day, it was spring.

Texas Summer, with its heat, has arrived.  It actually was late coming this year. The calendar still says April, but the weather says early summer. Damp, stifling, thick hot air.  The world is a steam bath.  Suffocating, deadly. 

I love it!  Really.  Not joking at all.  I love my Southeast Texas summers. 

Sunshine, thunderstorms, trips to the river to laze on the banks and cool off in the deep, clear waters. 

Fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, melons grown just out the back door.  Banana trees reaching up to provide shade on the porch just in time for the hottest days. 

Making pickles.  Watching fireflies.  Firing up the pit for barbecue.  Fish fries, fireworks, flags waving. 

When I was a kid, living in this same house, we did not turn on the air conditioner.  We used an attic fan to draw air in from outside.  Mother would cover the arch from the living room to the rest of the house with a king size sheet and run a window unit in the evenings while we watched one of the two television stations we received.  Musical/comedy variety shows, family dramas, detective shows. 

At 6:15 p.m., the house was quiet to see the local weather forecast.  Ssshhhhh……the weather is on…….. In summer, so near the Gulf, plus a sailor father, the hurricane season was as critical as the football season.  No longer any sailors with us, but the habit lingers.  And the hurricanes still come. 

The roads were white sand.  With the baking of the sun and the grinding of car tires, the sand would become like the finest talc and coat my bare feet and legs by the end of a day of bike riding.  There were ever flowing artesian fed pipes of cold water scattered at the park on the lake.  Refreshment.  No need to go home for a drink.  The white sand and the artesian wells have fallen prey to “progress”.

Summers.  Memories.  Already we are planning our summer adventures.  The river beckons.  The heat reminds us of rope swings and muddy banks.  Sand bars and blow up floats.  Wade fishing before the other boats arrive to crowd the shore. 

I love my Southeast Texas Summers……………

 

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