Wednesday, August 17, 2011

T.G.A.C. - Thank Goodness for Air Conditioning

Last week my family went on vacation to Southern California. We spent time in Laguna Beach, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The vacation was an absolute blast.

The first thing I share when people ask me how the vacation went is not the beauty of the beaches or the excitement of Universal Studios. What is my favorite memory from California?

If you are reading this from inside your air conditioned office hiding from the heat like me, I’msure you can guess my answer ─ the weather! With blistering and sunburn-friendly temperatures sweeping across Texas and other parts of the country, it seems weather is all Texans can think about. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the 75-degree temperatures and constant ocean breeze that laced the California air.

To say it's been a hot summer would be an understatement. Scorching or miserable would be better terms to describe Texas. The media has gone heat crazy over so-called “record-breaking temperatures.” Every day there is a new headline or story on the radio announcing things like “yesterday’s highs topped the century mark” and “108 degrees today people! Get inside!”

This unavoidable obsession with heat does not get any better with the lack of rain either. An article on Reuters said the nation's triple digit heat wave ─ which hit its 34th day on Friday ─ could last until the end of August, while extensive drought in and around Texas may last into October. A drought that could possibly last until August?! T.G.A.C.! Thank goodness for air conditioning.

When your popsicle melts the second it is out of the freezer, and the “refreshing” pool water is as warm as hot bath water, it is safe to assume that any free time left this summer and possibly the fall, will be spent inside.

Fortunately, Texas Christian University Press has your air-conditioned entertainment covered. Grab a book, nestle into your couch with a big glass of water and stay cool. Elmer Kelton’s The Time it Never Rained will help you forget about your own heat exhaustion.

The Time it Never Rained follows Charlie Flagg, a man living in the 1950s during the longest drought in the memory of most men then living. Charlie is by no means the typical cowboy hero. Self-sufficient, courageous, with a strong sense of right and wrong, he is also old and overweight, a thoroughly believable human being who has trouble communicating with the wife who loyally struggles to keep life in its pattern, the son who has no feel for the land but yearns for the rodeo circuit, the Mexican family who has worked for him for years and whose help he can no longer afford.

Find out if Charlie survives the heat and order your own copy of The Time it Never Rained here! TAMU Press books also now available through Google books! Until then, T.G.A.C. folks!

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