Hot Enough for Yuh?
“I’m melting….” wailed the Wicked Witch of the West, in the legendary film version of The Wizard of Oz. The dramatic collapse of Hollywood’s Margaret Hamilton in 1939 is resonating at Paradise Valley Estates in late August 2017 as our state reels from the triple-digit numbers of an excessive heat warning posted on the front page of our local newspaper.
Even starting at daybreak when there is a vestige of cool air stirring, the stalwart bocce players mop their sweaty foreheads and unpeel their colorful team t-shirts from bodies dripping with perspiration.
And Keesa, the camel, has cancelled her planned appearance at Quail Creek because of the extreme heat. Well, a camel, or Ship of the Desert as that animal is poetically described, gets testy when the temperature rises to triple digits for days in a row. And that doesn’t begin to address how the residents feel, as a long-awaited exotic treat is postponed for humane reasons — for the residents, not the camel, who is used to such sweltering weather.
Golf carts driven by security personnel carry bottled water in case any of our residents become dehydrated and collapse on their way to the bar for after hours entertainment. But we are a hardy band of retirees, and manage our own water supply on the golf course, putting green and other outdoor venues.
Indoors, we are offered free lemonade in the Café and numberless glasses of chilled water during meetings in the conference room or multi-activity arts and crafts room. The pool is a popular destination and water volleyball becomes almost as popular as bocce — but it’s a seasonal thing, and when the weather grows cooler in late September, perhaps we’ll look back on the halcyon days of summer with nostalgia. After all, don’t our aging bones deserve the solar-powered massages?
And walking the dog along the golf course fence with frequently watered lawns cooling the feet of walker and canine walkee equally is a sensuous pleasure for the toes.
Only the wild turkeys seem to thrive in the shimmering heat. They have learned from past experience that a measured pace through one’s garden preserves dignity and is ultimately successful.
The infrastructure of PVE is intact, the air-conditioning units functioning well at 78 degrees, and the chilled gazpacho and shrimp cocktails served in the dining room are refreshing. After all, we don’t have to be outdoors; we can watch pre-season football games from the comfort of our recliners, and a tall gin-and-tonic is a pleasant precursor for an evening meal.
The ocean is within driving distance and the redwood groves, misty and mysterious, beckon. The PVE bus rumbles to a welcoming tasting room in the wine country and all is well.
And, we as seniors get talking rights about the “Heat Wave of ‘17” just as we recall the “Blizzard of ‘49” as our great-grandchildren listen with awe to our recollections of a late summer week of heat. That’s worth enduring the triple-digit temperatures, isn’t it?