Sunday, July 31, 2022

Weather report

Our yards in the 'burb where I live are a sad, brownish color.  We've had an exceptionally dry summer. 

We generally don't water grass around here because our yards are pretty big (1-plus acre) and it's too expensive. I've lived here 25 years and have found we generally get enough rain to keep the grass green, but when we go through times like this, with draught-like conditions, it starts to turn brown, and we just live with it (as we hope and pray for rain). 

Finally, this week, we have gotten some relief. We had a good soaking rain a couple of days ago, and another one overnight. 


It has been a hot summer, something to which we are accustomed around here and to which I have been accustomed my entire life. I grew up in south Arkansas, went to college in Louisiana and moved to central Arkansas in my early 20s -- all places with hot summers. I moved to Tennessee in 1997. I would say, in general, it is not as hot here as where I lived in Arkansas, but the difference is only slight. When it's summer, it's hot. 

The only extended relief I have ever had from hot summers occurred in 1980 and 1981. The summers of those years I worked in the mountains of Colorado and the climate was glorious. I loved those summers for many reasons, not the least of which was the pleasant daytime temperatures. 

A lot of folks who are lifelong southerners say they are used to the heat, so it does not bother them. I'm not one of those southerners. I am quite bothered by it. 

I often wonder how I would do with brutal winters where snow is abundant. Younger Son lived in northern Indiana for three years and one of those years he was snowbound for nearly a month, a contributing factor to his desire to move back to the South. 

I don't think I would much like that, either. 


I have always maintained that the best consolation for summer heat is food -- the fresh fruit and vegetables we get in summer. Although I don't grow a garden, I patronize the local farmers market and a small produce store. Wife and I have been enjoying scrumptious tomatoes (is there a better sandwich than a BLT?) .I have gotten some good watermelons and cantaloupes (neither of which are favorites of Wife), and we have both enjoyed peaches and blueberries. 


Since starting to write this a couple of days ago, we have been blessed with rainfall. I see some of the brown beginning to turn back to green. 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Good baseball summer

Regular readers here know I am a baseball fan. And this year I have been a lucky one, already having been to four MLB games. 

I posted in May about our weekend in D.C., when I got to see the Nationals play the Astros. 

Memorial Day weekend we went to Atlanta (home of Older Son and family) and saw the Braves play the Miami Marlins. I have a friend who has connections with the Marlins, and he got tickets for us Friday night and Saturday afternoon right next to the Marlins' dugout, on the front row on the third base line. Older Son, Grandson Hank and I went with my buddy Friday night, and Wife, DIL and I went with him Saturday. 

The next weekend, at the invitation of Older Son, I flew to Pittsburgh on Saturday morning and met Older Son and Grandson Hank for a game at PNC Park Saturday afternoon.  Hank, already a baseball enthusiast at age four, played for a team called the Pirates this year, so his dad figured getting us to Pittsburgh to see the grownup Pirates play would be a great way to use some of his frequent flier points. 

And let me tell you, we had a great time. Hank made it all nine innings for the game Saturday and loved every minute -- a great game the Pirates won with a walk-off in the bottom of the ninth. 

The two of them stayed for a game Sunday afternoon. Because my original flight got canceled and I had to connect through Baltimore, I was unable to stay for that one. So it was a quick trip, but incredibly fun. 

A couple of weekends ago, the grownup boys in my family (Older Son, Younger Son, SIL and yours truly) went to Phoenix to add another MLB park to the list of the ones we have visited. This tradition began with Older Son and me when he was eight years old. He has now visited 28 (out of 30) parks and I have visited 25. Younger Son and SIL have some catching up to do, but they're steadily making progress. 

The tentative plan is for me to try and make up  ground by visiting the two Bay Area parks (San Francisco and Oakland) and Miami (the venues Older Son has visited and I have not) sometime over the next two years. We will hopefully do our regular guys' trip next summer and go to L.A. Then we'll have the finale in Seattle the summer of 2024. 

Phoenix was hot as all get-out -- 110 degrees. I've heard the argument about "dry heat," i.e. it's not so bad because it's not humid. I am not impressed with that. It was like an oven when one stepped outside. 110 is 110. (Fortunately, Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, has a retractable roof and was securely in the "covered" position.)

Our host for the weekend was our friend Adam, a young man who was friends with Older Son and SIL at Auburn and has become a good friend to our family. His wife stayed with (or fled to?) her parents nearby for the weekend as we took over their home. Adam was kind enough to have planned indoor activities when we were not at baseball games, including visits to an excellent tap room, a superb authentic Mexican restaurant and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. 

So yes, I've been a lucky fan this summer. And the fun continues! Wife and I have plans to meet some friends from Little Rock in St. Louis for a couple of Cardinals games at Busch Stadium in late August. 

With Grandson Hank outside PNC Park in Pittsburgh

Chase Field in Phoenix