Fun in the Summer Sun
By ED PARSONS
Every year about this time things start really heating up. Saturday was a scorcher, with highs reaching near 100 and humidity near 60; it made you sweat just to be outside.
I can remember as a youngin’, the heat didn’t seem to have an effect on me – the hotter, the better. Outdoor basketball or Little League ball was more fun when heat, sweat and dirt were the names of the game.
Maybe we took a break now and then for a 16 oz. R.C. or an ice cream bar to cool off, but then we were right back at it. Later in the day we did either more of the same or sat under a shade tree to cool down, never to long though, because there was too much energy for that. There really was not much else to do, so sometimes we took a shower and went back to the ball courts. Those days seemed to never end. How I wish they would return.
Oh, I had big plans for Saturday: Mow the lawn, run the trimmer, help out at the swimming pool and just spend the entire day outside enjoying the heat. I even went to bed early on Friday. I just had to get up and not let another day go by with out getting some good outdoor time. Getting up around 8 each day is my norm but Saturday was going to be special, I wanted up by 6 and out the door by 7. With the bedroom door shut and the fan on to block out the noise and some soft oldies playing on Netflix, I fell asleep.
I never have used an alarm clock and maybe that’s part of the reason for my poor sleeping habits. However on this particular day, I wanted up at 6, so I set the alarm. Never hearing it ring, I laid there dead to the world, I mean I was out! Finally the door opened and all I heard was “Are you going to sleep all day/” Here it was 11 a.m., my first response was, “Is it raining out?”
No it’s beautiful I was told. Then I hear someone knocking at the door and it’s for you!!!!
That was my start to the most miserably hot day I have experienced in quite some time. A day filled with sweat and more sweat and sweat and more sweat. The first thing was the knock on the door was a friend who needed help loading some stuff at the pool. So, off we go. As soon as we entered the park, I said, man look at the kids playing baseball! What fun that would be I thought. Then we arrived at the pool. Within 10 minutes my thoughts started changing, how can I find some air-conditioning? There was a work day at the park, starting at 1 p.m.. I knew things needed done and people were coming, so my friend and I got our little bit done and took off.
My thoughts of all this mowing, trimming and other things I planned were quickly vanishing. I reminded myself I was 65 years old and no longer a kid. Every excuse I could think of brought me closer to the indoors or a ride in the air-conditioning of my vehicle. No outdoors activities for me, it was just too hot. Up to McDonald’s for a cold iced tea I went,. As I passed Bruce Park one glance started again bringing back those memories. There they were – seven or eight teenagers pounding the ball from one end to the other end of the basketball court. Oh how I wanted to join them.
I thought maybe just maybe I could, after all just yesterday (Friday) my heart doctor had cleared me for another year. He even cut back my blood-pressure medication. Then reality set in again, don’t forget you can’t be out in the sun too long, those were the words of my dermatologist who had recently taken a piece of skin cancer off my head.
Well I made up my mind right then and there, wait until after dark and then go for a long walk or shoot a few hoops under the lights. Yep, I had it all figured out. Just like we did 48 years ago, life at the court, wow! So my next move was to drive around and see just how much physical activity I could see happening. All over New Martinsville first. Walkers and bike riders were out, but not in droves. Kids and adults were fishing and river activity was at a season high. Back down to Paden City and the ball fields were still full at 3 p.m. Several people were getting the pool ready to open. Maybe I’m not too old I thought, after all. Mayor Hopkins and his wife were there working. I should be able to! But boy that truck air-conditioning felt good.
On down the road to Sistersville – now there was a packed park with various activities going on and a full swimming pool to boot. No lack of exercise to be found as there also was lots of mowing and yard work going on in all three communities. Friday, June 10, was also the start of high school summer leagues and scrimmages, a three-week period where the coaches are allowed to get their teams together and practice, run drills, play other schools and see who may be new for next year. According to Tyler Consolidated Head Football Coach Ryan Walton, his boys were working hard and will soon have two seven-on-seven scrimmages with Paden City and maybe a few other schools.
Even though we get to a point where we can no longer do the things we used to, don’t give up, stay active. No, I never followed through with the night time hoop shooting, but I did get my evening walk. Kids are kids and many times we cut them short, we say all they want to do is play video games or mess with their phones and computers. I have to disagree! These kids are out in this heat swimming, playing baseball and softball, playing basketball and running track. They’re in the weight room, some have jobs, some have hobbies, some are volunteers. I know 19 kids who are working at the local pools. They all need there time with friends and phones and computers and such. Lets just be thankful for all the good kids we have.
If I was 16 again, I would probably be just like most of them. Many are just like we were full of pep and ready to go. All over this valley from the small towns, the country roads and our bigger areas kids and young adults are out working to be better people and athletes. Maybe instead of being negative of the youth all the time we should look at the positive. Jesus said unless you become like one of these little ones you shall in no way inherit the kingdom of heaven. So for heaven’s sake think before you speak, every child deserves a chance.
I want to say thank you to everyone who has helped with the effort to keep Paden City swimming pool open. Several businesses and many individuals have contributed in many ways to the effort. If that pool helps to save one child in any way it is well worth the sweat put into the cause. Thank you to Mayor Hopkins, Mayor-elect Joel Davis and to the Park and Pool Commission, you did the right thing.