By John Toth
Bring it on, summer heat. Dish it out all you want. I’ll take it and ask for more.
Summer is my favorite time of the year, minus the hurricane threats. I like the subtropical weather along the Texas Gulf Coast.
I have spent more time here in my life than anywhere else in the world.
You might think that’s weird, liking the Gulf Coast summer heat. If I didn’t, I’d be long gone.
There are many other places with four seasons a year. I like the Texas seasons - summer and almost summer.
One of the reasons I decided to stay in Texas - after landing a job at the Bay City Tribune in 1979 - was the climate. What sold me was the 70+ degrees during my first Christmas here. I never had it so good. My efficiency apartment windows were open, and my mother and I enjoyed our new world of Christmas warmth.
We went down to the mouth of the Colorado River and splashed our bare feet in the water as we walked along the shoreline. We wore clothes we would wear in the middle of summer in the Northeast, and we couldn't get enough of it.
She went home after Christmas, and for New Year’s, the coast got down to below freezing. She didn’t see that part, though. But that’s O.K., I can take the cold for a few days.
I can even take it all winter, but I don't want to.
Summer here includes late spring and early fall, when you can go swimming and not have to get used to the chilly water temperature. I can if I have to, but I rather not. The Gulf of Mexico water temperature by June is very comfortable, as are pool temperatures.
A long time ago, I went to a beach in the state of Maine. It was beautiful. But the water was freezing. I wondered why there weren’t that many people in it. Some kids didn’t care and jumped right in. I came out quickly. I could have stayed in, but why bother?
I like to walk into the Gulf waters and feel the warmth. That’s my kind of comfortable swimming.
I did manage to jump into Lake Ossipee in New Hampshire after a few days of conditioning. It would have been embarrassing to walk in holding up my arms while kids around me just jumped in, so I did the same.
Now, I would make sure that nobody saw me, and I’d slowly walk into the water, pretending that I was not in much of a hurry. I did that in Conroe once in December. But it was just for a few seconds, so we could take some pool pictures. Then we jumped into the adjacent hot tub.
I did go swimming one year in the middle of winter in Buffalo, NY. I jumped right in. It was snowing. I was in an indoor heated pool. It was surreal. There was a snowstorm coming that would blanket the area and close the highways for several days.
I got out of the pool and started packing, trying to beat the storm. I made it out just in time - to be stranded by the storm at home. It would have been better to be stranded in the hotel with the heated pool.
Or better yet, live in an area where there are no snowstorms and only a few days of cold - like right here along the Texas Gulf Coast.
Welcome 90+ summer heat. I just want to soak it all in - and then go back into air conditioning.
By the way, technically it’s not summer yet. It starts on Tuesday, June 21.