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Coping with Summer

In the heat of the night (and the day)


by Margo Oxendine, Contributing Columnist

Thank heavens it’s September. Maybe the scorching, relentless heat we’ve suffered through all summer long will abate. Maybe there will even be a cool breeze now and then.

Margo Oxendine

It was hotter here in Hot Springs than I ever remember. “The Hot” lived up to its name this summer. It was truly sweltering. I complained. A lot. Mostly to myself, because I did not go out unless I absolutely had to.

Then, I’d watch the news every night, I’d see temps like 106 across the country. And I’d know I was living in one of the “coolest” pla0ces around. That helped. A little.

I finally found a kindly neighbor to come over and cart the heavy air conditioner off the porch, where it had sat idle for two years waiting for an installer. In quick order, he carried it inside and set it up for me. I was beyond grateful.

I dreaded the day each week I would have to go to Covington, a town with all kinds of stores and a great library, but also a town with no shade. I had to force myself out of the house, and slog through my errands. Upon returning up the mountain, though, I could watch the temp gauge drop by degrees, about 10 of them. Suddenly, home didn’t feel so hot anymore.

I learned to wear the coolest clothes I have: summer pajamas. All day long. I’d change into a fresh pair every morning, and lounge around in them all day. If someone happened by, I did not apologize.

While I did not muster the energy to go much of anywhere, I did go to two parties. One was for the Bath County Art Show. It was held “way out yonder,” at a stunning estate, surrounded by probably hundreds of acres.

There are always catered delectables at parties in Bath County. This was no exception, except that it was. They were serving, among other tasties, lobster rolls. I can’t tell you how excited I was. Lobster rolls are one of my favorite foods, although I rarely find them, because I don’t vacation in Maine or New Hampshire.

While the polite thing to do at a posh party is nibble, when I saw those lobster rolls, I found myself a chair and inhaled, as politely as possible, three lobster rolls. They were divine.

The other party was one that I didn’t even know was happening until I was invited. And, it has everything to do with this magazine.ThThThThe directors of the various cooperatives, and there are quite a few, gather once a year (except during the pandemic, of course) to conduct their business and socialize. And someone thought to invite me.

I imagined a staid affair. But that’s not what occurred. These were some of the friendliest people I’ve encountered since my epic trip to the Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester. In fact, some of the Apple Blossom folks were there.

A dozen of us took a shuttle bus to a great restaurant, the Tavern at Warm Springs, and gathered around a big table and, to my recollection, did nothing but chat and laugh. We laughed a lot! I knew a few of the folks, and quickly made friends with the others. It was a special night, full of fun.

Know this, Cooperative Living readers: You’ve got a friendly, caring group of folks leading you. I’d be happy to party with them anytime … including in the midst of a long hot summer. Even if it means I have to get out of my pajamas.

To order Margo’s book, “A Party of One,” call 540-468-2147 Mon-Wed., 9-5, or email [email protected].