Archived Story

This Baptist ready to get sprinkled

Published 6:45pm Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It’s that time of year when youngsters look for ways to cool off during summer’s scorching temperatures. I recall such days.

Around here, the Pamlico River is a cooling-off spot. There are several public and private swimming pools in the area where children can escape the heat and humidity for an afternoon.

When I was growing up in Pensacola, Fla., we children had several places to cool off. Of course, there was Pensacola Beach just a few miles away. Those trips involved the entire family, including cousins, aunts, uncles and the occasional grandparent.

More often than those trips to the beach were the homemade methods of getting wet to cool off.

Every Southern child worth his or her heritage knows that a water hose provides an easy way to chase away the heat. They also know you don’t squirt the water coming out of the hose on one’s body until that water has been flowing for at least a minute. Those hoses, often sitting in the sun and absorbing the heat from the sun, would serve as long, tubular water heaters. A blast of hot water from a hose could ruin one’s day.

In the days before the Slip ’N’ Slide was invented, I often sought relief from the heat — and my two younger sisters — by turning on the lawn sprinkler and either jumping back and forth through its spray or letting the stream of water from one of those rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat sprinklers chase me around the yard.

When I was less three to four feet tall, I would stand under a spigot on top of a five-foot-tall water pipe next to the back porch of my maternal grandparents. I’d simply reach up, turn on the water and let it cascade over my body. Sometimes, I’d be wearing just shorts and underwear. Sometimes, I only wore underwear. There may have been one or two times when I wore … well, we won’t get into that just now

If it gets really hot this summer, and I think it will be a long, hot summer, I will have to invest in a sprinkler. I can handle that. I’m too old for a Slip ’N’ Slide — maybe.

Mike Voss is the senior member of the newsroom at the Washington Daily News.

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