So imagine you are 7 years old and its blazing hot outside. You could be swimming in the ditch by your house, but today is family portraits. Your parents have had these pictures scheduled for months, so they are going to happen today whether you like it or not. As more and more family start to arrive, you glance down at your Ninja Turtles watch only to see it’s 3pm; the perfect time of day for the air to have the exact blend of moisture and fire that drains every ounce of life out of you. You instantly regret eating that Hot Pocket for lunch. Finally, you convince everyone it’s as hot as Nacho Libre’s bathroom stall outside and they finally cave in and move the pictures inside.
To make matters worse, you forgot that your mom had this brilliant idea to use these photos as this year’s upcoming Christmas cards. You are forced to wear that wool sweater your grandma hand knitted you for Christmas 1992. You become light headed from the overwhelming heat escaping from the knit turtleneck of the sweater, but you refuse to faint from heat exhaustion like your fancy pants cousin, Jeremy, just did.
Suddenly, you see a central A/C vent on the floor under the fake Christmas tree propped up for the photo shoot. You dove and claimed the coveted AC floor vent, but needless to say there was no air coming through that brown colored, slotted mobile home hole in the floor.
Sweet Jesus, what a sight.
Of course, as a child touching the A/C thermometer was pretty much viewed as the equivalent of taking the family station wagon for a joy ride to Dairy Queen. In your heart of hearts you prayed for an adult to turn on the air. Your prayers turn to desperation as your granddad looks down lovingly and says “Hey buddy. I know how to turn that frown upside town…” He then proceeds to reach down and plug in the giant 1980’s rainbow colored Christmas tree lights you are sitting directly underneath. You start to wonder if the 20 watt blue, green, and red bulb heat radiating directly onto your neck is worth it. Out of nowhere it happens!! Your Great Aunt Gloria slowly stands up and walks to the thermometer. You wonder if you should offer your spot to your cousin who is still passed out on the navy blue carpet. Even though that kid is wearing a super sweet Space Jam tank top and still passed out, your family bond of togetherness eats at your soul.
You know that thing is breathable. It has freaking MJ on it!!
So you begin to get on your feet. Right before you walk over and tug on his braided rat tail to give him the floor vent spot, the heavens part. Your grandma offers him some Kool-Aid and a bowl of lime Jell-O. He sits up. Praise Jesus, you can keep your jackpot air conditioned spot. About this time, Aunt Gloria is working that central a/c control like a freaking champ. You see her crank that little plastic switch all the way. You smile. I mean you smile big, like “your teacher wheeling in that giant tv on wheels into your class” smile. You blissfully settle the vent directly between your soaked Levi’s jeans and just wait for that glorious cool rush to blow up between your skin and your soaking wet Santa sweater. Suddenly, it hits you. This is Great Aunt Gloria we are talking about. She’s the family member that makes you sleep in her “doll room” when you spend the night.
"Don't touch my leftover biscuits from Red Lobster in the fridge."
Deep in your soul you know it’s about to happen… and then it does. Hot air barrels up out of the vents and starts to seep its way into your fiber of your clothes. You look in shock at this woman in complete befuddlement and simply ask what would possess her to do this. “Phil Donaue says sweating is good for my skin, so I’m tryna exfoliate pictures. Plus, he says children should know their place,” she answers snidely before she flips her hair and sips her Long Island Iced Tea.
He couldn't say it on TV, if it weren't not the truth.
You attempt to remove your sweater from over the vent and walk to the other side of the room. Maybe your cousin has some of the lime Jell-O left you can eat or at least lick the cold bowl to cool the inferno building up within your body. Of course by this point, your muscle memory has completely faded and instead of simply adjusting your sweater, you accidently fall sideways and knock over the tree in the process. Apparently during all of this you were so caught up with the personal literal brush with the heat of the sun that you failed to notice that everyone else was smiling the pictures had started. Considering the fact that your granddad forgot to buy more film and all he had left was two more photos to spare from their “Carnival Cruise to the Bahamas” roll of film. Everyone is fuming mad at you for ruining their picture by knocking down the tree. Your dad leans over and says “I’m about to head to Camera America to get this thing developed. If there isn’t a usable picture on this roll and your mother makes us do this brain dead Christmas in July photo shoot again, may God have mercy on your soul.”
You sit down next to your grandma who offers you some Kool-Aid and gives one of those strawberry candies that you have never seen actually sold in a store, but she always has them.
I can't wait until I have grandkids, so I can start setting out these bad boys
You start to feel a little better until you hear your dad’s truck door slam and speed down the dirt road on his way to town. You sit quietly with your grandma watching Super Market sweep for the next hour or two until you hear your uncle’s dogs start to bark. You know it’s about to be the time for reckoning. You clench your sweaty palms tight as you hear him yelling through the shut door, “Ok everyone! We’re going to have to do another photo shoot. You know its coming. This is the moment your short life ends. You look nervously at door handle turning and your dad walking in. He silently hands you the roll of film and simply says “Look.” All of the pictures towards the front are what you expected, just a bunch of pictures of the cruise ship, folded towels, and a luau they went to on a beach.
"Mam, I'm sorry to tell you but we just ran out of shrimp."
There are only two pictures left. Your hands start to shake; you feel everyone in the entire room shooting daggers at you with their eyes. Quick and painless to tell yourself… So you just grab the last two pictures, close your eyes, and hold them both up straight in front of your face. At this your dad immediately busts out laughing. Beyond confused, you slowly release your sealed shut eyes to a slight squint. It turns out your grandparents didn’t have any extra pictures left on that roll in the first place. So there was literally not one picture taken of the Christmas tree debacle. Apparently your grandparents got drunk off of frozen daiquiris during the cruise and your grandma convinced your grandad to enter a wet t-shirt contest. Everyone immediately just looks at them and dies laughing. Of course, your granddad denies it; however, the evidence is irrefutable. At this very moment, he is wearing a fanny pack that says “Tell your Mommas, I’ve got the best jugs in the Bahamas.”
So in the end, you and your family had such a big laugh and so much fun that you forgot about the crazy heat that caused all of this once in a lifetime scenario.
That’s my opinion on South Georgia Summer heat. It’s grueling and most of the time unbearable, but a large majority of my best memories were made with my siblings or best buds, just running around the in woods making forts,playing in the swimming pool, or showing my kids how to cool off by burying themselves in the giant sand pile at the park across the street. It’s just good ole’ fashioned fun in the sun.
Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,