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The air in Houston is just plain HOT in the summer.  Temperatures soar into the high 90’s and stay there.  By the middle of the morning the nasty partner of Southern heat joins in the unpleasantries.  High humidity.

From practical terms we refer to such days as two shirt days.  I carry an extra shirt in my truck or make sure that one is handy in my office, neatly hanging behind the door.  On especially sweaty days I will head to the club, swim a half of mile and then take a long cool shower.

Time and appointments are not always friendly to a human seeking relief from the relentless heat.  There are moments when the air conditioning of my office, my truck or my home is like a refuge where island hopping is the standard fare for the day.  The temptation to complain is high but never recommended.

Instead, we Texans learn to put on a happy face and say something good.  “The humidity is good for your skin,” we laugh.  No one really believes this words but it certainly brings about a moment of laughter that brings just a moment, ever so brief from the brutal weather outside.

Duty called.  I needed to get to other side of our building.  If I had wanted to I could have keyed the entrance passed through several doors on my way to the other end of our campus.  Instead, I braved the idea of walking through our outside atrium.  It meant stepping into the outdoor weather, albeit briefly.

Steeling my soul, I opened the door and walked briskly through the garden.  Surprisingly, the temperature and humidity did not grip my breath away.  In fact the weather, while warm, was quite pleasant.

My steps slowed to a casual stroll.  Why wasn’t the torturous Houston summer weather strangling me?  I stopped and looked up.

A canopy green took the place of a human-made ceiling.  Trees nearly blocked out the sun.  Well-watered flora moderated the small oasis.  Here I smiled at the summer and thought, “A true respite is built into this building.”

I am going to like it here in our new campus.  This unexpected feature was value-added to our bustling campus of students digging into their graduate studies.  Stumbling into and onto this refreshing discovery made for a memorable day.

Do you have a place of relief from the summer heat?

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

On a hot day there are always  options to fight the heat.  Creativity is only limited by desire.  A hot Texas day gives any human being a lot of desire to do something to survive the heat.

It is a human release valve too.  People feel better when they can let off a little steam with some kind of complaint.  The weather takes the brunt of a lot of human ire. 

When I lived in Oregon people always made comments about the rain.  The sun was rare, hidden by rain clouds.  They would joke  that no one in Oregon ever dies, they just rust away. 

Then, when we lived in Scotland, the conversation always took a swipe at the “drecht days”.  That’s the local slang for days that were cold and damp due to the blowing winds off the North Sea.  So, weather complaints are international to be sure.

Life in Michigan was no different.  There it was the winter that won the conversation marathon.  When snow fell in late November and never thawed until the next April, that was a long frigid spell.

But, while everyone every where seems to complain about the weather, everyone also stays put.  Here in Texas it is similar.  Locals get used to the humid heat and just cope.

Some times Houstonians head to the theater.  I’m speaking about the movie theater.  For hours air conditioning with a good show on the silver screen make us forget.

But, for all of us there is another southern favorite.  It has to be served at the correct temperature, however.  Something room temperature is totally unacceptable. 

At the local grocers there’s always a large bin full of these special treats.  Placement of this item doesn’t even make it into the produce section where it belongs.  Instead, they are placed right in the entry to greet shoppers.

People see these luscious green striped melons and there is an instant connection.  For $5 I throw one into our shopping cart.  It isn’t on our list.

When we arrive at home and download our groceries, this melon goes into the refrigerator.  There’s no exception to this procedure.  Serving watermelon that isn’t properly refrigerated misses the whole point of refreshment.

But, when it is chilled properly it is amazing.  Sliced creatively, it is God’s nectar for the uncomfortably hot.  It is a divine solution for the overly hot days of summer…slurp heaven’s chilled, sweet wonder.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography