I think the hottest I have ever been was in summer camp near Ruston, Louisiana, in the middle of summer.
There used to be an organization called Bible Memory Association (BMA). BMA was great. Kids and adults got books filled with Bible verses that you were supposed to memorize. Every kid had an adult (usually from their church) that they had to recite the verses to and then get checked off. If you completed a certain amount of assignments, you got to go to summer camp in Louisiana for free. I did one summer and went with the late Bill Juraschek Family.
It was terribly hot and humid and the only building on the campus that had air conditioning was the chapel and campers were only allowed in there during services or to pray.
I prayed a lot that week.
The BMA camp had one horse for campers to ride. There was a path cut through the forest and the wrangler told campers to walk that horse along the path. After the first bend in the woods, just about every camper got the horse running and then slowed down on the way back. The wrangler couldn’t figure out why that horse worked up such a lather when it was supposed to just walk.
One summer, I was a stock boy for J.C. Penney at Southroads Mall (now Tulsa Promenade). It was 100 degrees one day and the stockroom manager loaded us up and drove to a warehouse near 51st Street and Mingo Road.
It was a huge warehouse with fixtures and other stuff that Penney’s couldn’t sell. It was really dusty and very, very hot in that building. Our job that day was to clean it up. We sweated so much and it was so dusty that at the end of the day, we looked like we had rolled in mud.
I love Florida but it takes some getting used to. Shortly after we got married in 1982, we went to Central Florida and spent a day at Caladesi Island State Park.
It was really hot. I sunburn easily but it was slightly overcast on the beach and I didn’t put on much suntan lotion.
That was a mistake.
I was so burned I could hardly sleep for several nights. And we went to Epcot Center at Disney World the next day and that was hot. My feet were swollen from the sunburn so badly that I couldn’t tie my shoes.
When I was 16, I had a job at a gas station at 5th Street and Sheridan Road, just three blocks west of where I grew up.
We had a two-week heat wave that summer and it was a scorcher. The temperature was more than 100 each day and the tiny office at the station was not air-conditioned.
Back then, attendants filled your tank, checked you oil and cleaner you windshields. Sometimes we even checked the air pressure in your tires.
The owner of the station sold cases of pop in the old wooden boxes and he would have us stack about 20 cases, stacked three cases high, by the sidewalk on the front of the station to attract customers.
That summer, I would hear a strange sound and it was a bottle of soda pop bursting from the heat.
That was hot.
Over the past few years, our family has taken some ocean cruises to the Caribbean and stopped in ports in Mexico.
The summer heat seems to intensity the closer you get to the Equator. I am older and wiser these days, so I try to wear a hat and put on plenty of sunscreen in those situations.
It is still very uncomfortable. And I have learned to drink a lot of water in the summer and particularly when it is scorching. It’s good for your health to sweat and limited exposure to sunlight is very beneficial.
We went to Daytona Beach in Florida with our kids one summer and the boardwalk was unbearable. The sand was so hot, I couldn’t walk on it with my bare feet.
We took the kids to Disney World in Orlando one time and the heat was fierce. The lines for the rides were so long that they positioned pipes with water mists to cool the weary customers. Halfway through one line, they actually had set up a stand to sell soft drinks and the line was so long (about an hour), that you had time to drink a large soda before it was your turn to ride.
I grew up in a house in East Tulsa with no air conditioning and actually, it was easier to adjust to the heat back then. We put box fans in the bedroom windows and slept with just sheets and no blankets.
And as hot as I have been over the years, I never sweated as much as that horse in Louisiana.