The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

July 9, 2012

Heat offers opportunities

Editor and Publisher
John H. Walker

TARBORO — I’m thankful I don’t have t toil outside for a living, as do many people.

I’ve always been one to take care of my own yard, yet Saturday, we paid Tom Williams to cut the grass.

Part of that decision stemmed from having the lawn mower here and my little red gas can in the garage in Bogalusa, La., but the main consideration was the heat.

I don’t tolerate it as I once did, and I blame the toll mixture of radiation and chemotherapy (Cisplatin and 5-FU) took on my body more than I do my age.

While my right hand is normally wrapped around a Dr Pepper, these days you are more likely to see me with a Gatorade fierce grape in its place.

This is a tough time of year on many people — especially the elderly and ill and those with limited resources who don’t have access to air conditioning.

While there are beneficial programs offering free fans, the reality is that the fan is simply circulating 100-degree (or better) heat inside some of the houses in our community which puts the occupants in a role akin to that of a rotisserie chicken.

I remember growing up in the country with a fan in the bedroom window to try and offer you just enough relief to fall asleep at night.

The old house in which we lived was poorly insulated and cold in the winter, until Mom folded newspapers and packed them around the windows and two of the doors we didn’t use once warm weather left us.

 Perhaps our oppressive heat is a lesson being offered us by the Lord.

Here I am, complaining about the heat when I work in a building that is mostly air conditioned and live in a home that will chill you out when the thermostat is on 74.

I don’t have to worry about trying to stay cool enough to breathe.

When I get in my Jeep, I roll down the windows until the A/C pushes the hot air away ... yet I never thought about Tom Williams, riding from house to house to cut grass in his pickup with no air.

Other than a catch-my-breath moment when I get in my vehicle, I don’t have to worry about staying cool while driving.

We advise you to watch out for your neighbors in this heat, but do we?

How many of us take the time to meet our neighbors ... more than to say hello and recognize them?

How many of us know our neighbors well enough to know when they are too proud to ask for help?

When’s the last time you made a pitcher of ice water and took it to your neighbor?

Or what about the folks on the utility and garbage trucks? What about the folks doing road work?

When was the last time you performed a random act of kindness?

A person’s commitment to doing unto others as they would want for themselves is a lot like being able to judge the ethics and morality of a person ... you can tell their level of ethics by what they do when no one is looking.

A random act of kindness can be judged in a similar manner ... by doing the right thing for the right reason and not caring that anyone knows you did it.

It’s like paying for a service member’s meal in an airport ... do it because it makes you feel better ... and at least you know you are doing something worthwhile with your money and not spending it frivolously.

Yes, the heat offers us the opportunity to whine and complain and throw ourselves a pity party. It also offers us the opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life — even if it’s just for the moment they pause to drink that water you gave them.

(John H. Walker is editor/publisher of The Daily Southerner and can be reached at 823-3106.)