Monday, July 25, 2005

A Yankee Boy Speaks about Heat

The South.
From my perch up north I see the shimmering heat. On my visits to the South I have seen the steam and felt the stifling air. When this Yankee thinks of the South I cannot help think of its heat and of ducking for air conditioning. I do know that days and nights and places and times do all change this. There are times that even up north we see the blaze. I’ve felt the shimmer here. It just doesn’t seem to cook us as thoroughly.

I can tell you about a Yankee transplant. He lived in the mountains of Vermont. Winters get cold there. The snow heaps over everything. This young man was a typical Northerner. A typical teenage Northerner. It wasn’t too cold for him. Wear his shorts through the drifts of snow to his car. Go play basketball in some crispy gym. Button your coat? It’s a blazing 3 degrees. Wind chill only makes it 15 below. That’s barely cold enough to turn the heat on, why should I button my coat?

When this youngster grew up he found himself living below the Snow Belt. Yes, Virginia became his home. South but not the Deep South. Plenty warm for a Yankee. In time he got himself married to a Texas girl and had a beautiful baby girl. The clan from the north couldn’t wait to see the newest child so we rented a huge passenger van and headed south one fine sunny April day. Snow barely lingering up here and the temperatures spoke of summer. We came dressed for the heat.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather. The sun was shining and the thermometer read low 70s. A slight breeze raced the sunshine through our hair. We reveled in the day. Yep, you could tell we were Yankees. We headed to the ocean dressed in shorts and t-shirts even as the day clouded and chilled a bit.

We dragged our hosts to the beach with us. They came along even as they looked at us as if we were crazy. Our Yankee transplant, who could wear shorts through the northern snow, decided it was a bit chilly and went looking for a sweater…

It don’t take long for a Yankee to become Southern.