The Press Box For July 4
If you want to experience some good leisure time, check out water sports. This past week I participated and watched as the heat brought out the boats. Folks were tubing, and kids were swimming. It was the hottest weekend of the summer so far, and it couldn’t have come at a better time – the weekend prior to July 4th.
I remember back in the old days – the 50s, 60s, and 70s. There was no air conditioning in the cars; very few homes had air conditioning. The best relief one could get from the extreme heat was a dip in the local pools or the creek. While driving, the windows were always down. I still can’t remember having a car full of bugs or a bird in the car. We just drove. Of course, there wasn’t near the traffic there is today, so a rock through the windshield was a rare thing.
On Friday afternoon, I watched from the docks in Paden City as folks were launching their boats. Kids had on lifejackets and were soon being pulled by tubes. Several individuals were going out to get some sun and do some fishing.
The swimming pool had a good turnout. I traveled to Sistersville, and it’s pool was also nearly full. Back up the river I went. Driving down past the dam, I saw about 10 people fishing, and it looked like they were down on their luck The heat and warm water might have made it a problem.
At Lewis-Wetzel, there were several big birds by the small pond. I’m not sure what kind they were, but they were in the water cooling off. The pool was abundant with people.
I sure was glad to have cold air in my truck. I recall the days when I would sit at home (after a workout on the basketball court), in front of a fan. All the windows would be open, but no cool air was coming in.
Anyway, when I got back home at about 6:30 p.m., I got the bright idea to try my hand at kayaking. My kayak has been sitting in my garage for two years, so my mind said “Why not; you’re still young. After all, you played a little basketball today. You are now pain free, and surely a little time on the river – close to shore – will be okay.”
Well, I forgot about being out in the sun. I was only going to be gone about an hour. I found out there were muscles, I don’t usually use, that don’t work quite as well as they used to. I made it (sorry about that folks), but it will be my last time. At least by myself. If there is a next time, it will be with more time allowed before dark. And no, it didn’t cool me off. I sweat more than I would have while mowing my son’s hayfield down on South Second Avenue, in Paden City. Keep the darn thing mowed, and lay off the bamboo, “Boo.” The worst part of the kayak trip, however, was my journey out the creek. I thought it would be better than being on the river until I ran came upon some goofballs frog gigging. I couldn’t get past them and their long sharp sticks. One guy nearly fell out of his kayak. I just turned around and headed back. I had enough!
Saturday, with the Back Home Festival going on in New Martinsville, and the heat index near 100 degrees, I had a choice: Go to Paden City and watch the high school girls volleyball spike-out or dress up in my hippie outfit and walk around Main Street, New Martinsville. As I have said before, I’m not the village idiot. I chose volleyball. It was still not a good choice being in a non air-conditioned gym for four hours.
All jokes aside, the Back Home Appalachian Arts & Music Festival turned out to be the largest event to hit the area since the days of Thomas Joyland at the old Brooklyn railroad yard. Lots of top-notch music and entertainment and some of the biggest names in bluegrass music today. It was a huge undertaking, and it all went off without a hitch. There was plenty of hard work and planning by the Wetzel County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Congratulations to the City of New Martinsville and the visitors bureau for working together to make it happen. The music was just amazing.
Later, it was out to Hundred for the town’s Fourth of July celebration. By the time the fireworks started (around 10 p.m.), it was still 80 degrees – according to my truck. Lot of swimmers at the Hundred pool on Saturday as well. Some one said they thought the pool was staying open until midnight for the festival. I will have to say I was very impressed with the town of Hundred’s swimming pool. I was out there after the big flood last year, and it looked ruined. Someone found a way to perform a miracle. I think it’s called coming together as a community, without special interest, and working for the betterment of the town as a whole.
Hundred had a nice celebration. Ray Sapp and Country Sounds took the stage at 7 p.m. and put out some good old country hits. They have become one of the local favorites and spend a lot of volunteer time at nursing homes and senior centers. There were several vendors set up and a couple food choices. They had roasted sweet corn on the cob which was as good as I’ve ever had.
Anyway, all good things must come to an end, and around 10:30 p.m., it was time for the nice drive back to Paden City. The truck said 75 degrees, so down came the window. The cool breeze really felt good, but the bugs quit hitting the windshield and were all over us. So up went the windows, and 60s on 6 came on. It was a cool ride home.
The heat never let up on Sunday either, so we decided to stay home and watch some movies on Netflix; it turned out to be the best day of the weekend. If you want to be cool during this heat wave, stay indoors with air conditioning.
I know this sounds a little goofy, but people brag about being hot, and people brag about being cool. I like to consider myself a little of both; however, I’ve never found anyone yet who thinks I’m both – except my wife.
Summer high school sports have just about wrapped p for this year. I went out and watched the Tyler Consolidated girls basketball league on Thursday evening. Teams from St. Marys, Cameron, Doddridge County, Ritchie County, Paden City, Valley and Tyler Consolidated all played. There were four good games. The best shooter of the night was Tyler’s Peyton Kocher who banged in 34 points; between her and teammate JoLee Walton, who was a force on the boards, they scored 55 of the Knights’ 61 points against Paden City. Looks like there will be some good basketball locally this coming season.