Hot Weather Done Come In!
Not like Carl Sandberg’s Fog that sneaks in on cat’s paws, muggy heat landed with a bang on the weekend. There was nothing subtle about the sweat that bathed my baldhead and ran down the chest beneath my shirt.
After church at New Market’s Grace Episcopal, I stopped by Joanie Jenkins’ Carroll Street Café to pick up pants she’d altered. Rushing home, Pushkin did not quite throw me on the freshly painted blue stoop. But his English pointer nibs had no objection to a stroll on North Market Street, where we live. As usual, we both exercised our more than ample curiosities.
We bumped into a dark-eyed, nine-month-old girl not 50 feet from our yellow front door; her parents were from Honduras and Columbia. Another guy stood by them; he was from Caracas, Venezuela, which I last saw when my youngest French grandchild was born, Thibeau – in Valencia, close to the Columbian border where the darling girl’s mother was born.
A few yards on, I was more interested in the four-years-young boxer (still a puppy), than was Pushkin. Aside from a few sniffs, he shows little interest in fellow canines. He treats with bored disdain most people who try to summon him. His sole interest on our strolls boils down to food, in whatever forms it arrives!
In all the days of promenading with the pointer, I don’t recall he’s been any different since he came into my life when he was 12-weeks-old. Come July 9, he will achieve a magnificent 14! – largely because of the community affection. But most of all to veterinarian Stacy Dimaria, who administers acupuncture every two weeks and takes good care of his health.
We darted – properly schlumpfed – over to the other side of North Market. Most of his biscuit-givers are closed on Sunday, but Pat keeps Alicia L.’s door wide open for all the visitors who come to downtown Frederick. She always has a baked bone for Pushkin. Back on the sidewalk, we bumped into a Syrian-American who now lives in Thurmont, with his Austrian-American wife, many young people who look pretty in their youth, skateboarders, and people to say “Hi!”
Attired still in Sunday go-to-meeting clothes – minus the linen jacket – when we finally reach again the blue stoop and yellow door, I swim in a flood of sweat; the first thing I did was to go into the kitchen and grab a glass filled with ice and ginger ale. We go straight upstairs so I can strip my newly altered linen-and-silk pants and my drenched shirt. Pushkin seeks out the carpeted floor and I throw myself at the bed. Instead of wearing a pajama jacket, I lie on the pillows and read The Washington Post.
Attempts to snatch a nap fail! So I grab cotton shorts and a Shady Grove Hospital polo shirt; old sandals complete my outfit. I sit at the computer finishing this column when Monroe Grossnickle slides the glass door in the garden room, collecting the fee for painting my blue stoop and other items.
Receiving the check, Monroe shyly brags on his 23-year-old daughter’s theses at the University of Melbourne; she and her brother grew up in Australia. The conversation distracts me from the hot weather, but there’s more to come. It’s not yet officially summer on Frederick’s North Market Street.
Inevitably, knowing I spent my childhood in New Orleans, friends jokingly ask ‘how the heat reminds me of life along the Mississippi?’ I consider the comparison meaningless. Even with the new-finagled air-conditioning: HOT IS HOT!