Summers are supposed to be hot

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Here we are again, my friends, right smack in the middle of the notorious Eastern North Carolina summer heat wave.

The weather was in the 90s all last week, and was accompanied by her irritating cousin, humidity.

Just forget the complaining. It is summer and in these parts of the world it is supposed to be hot.

Thank your mama or daddy and the inventor of air conditioning in today’s world.

It has not always been that way.

I will not reveal my actual age, but air conditioning was not around in my growing up and barking days.

It might have been for the rich, but not on my side of the tracks.

A fan on the south side of the tracks was a luxury, and few even enjoyed that.

Front doors, protected by screen doors to keep the flies away, were left open to gobble any approaching breeze during those often brutal summer nights of yesterday. Windows, also protected by screens that often had little balls of cotton as protection from flying critters, were also left open at night to catch a breeze.

Folks respected one another back in those days and unlocked doors and open windows testified to it. Try it today if you would like to harbor a big knot on the head or worse.

In my day, hot was hot, period.

If you were among a number of city kids who worked in tobacco to earn money for clothes heading into a new school year, you clearly understand what hot was about.

Many in my neighborhood did, and it was hard work. Hard work never hurt anyone. It taught responsibility and motivation to do better.

Some learned that. Others did not.

However, any way you want to look at it, all who did that work suffered the agony of a hot summer “baccer field.”

Cooling off at the end of the day was often done by hanging a water hose across a tree limb, taking a bar of soap and scrubbing down. A wash tub to those farms without indoor plumbing was a blessing.

Been there and done that, huh?

If you have, then you know what hot is during the summers of Eastern North Carolina. If you have not, shut up.

Behind a mule or riding on a harvester, summers were brutal in those days.

They are most likely still just as hot, but the tobacco fields of yesterday are quickly becoming history. Curing barns are gone too.

I certainly hope air conditioning does not cause cancer. Everything else does.

Even now I miss those screen doors of older days. It sounded good when they slammed, and irritated the grown folks.

William Holloman is a staff writer for the Mount Olive Tribune.

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