Sometimes you need a helping hand.
The forecast for the next 20 days called for 100 degrees with no end in sight.
No relief at all.
It felt like it too.
With more than 220 days of sunshine each year, the locals expected warm spells. In fact, they said they’ve seen it before and it was much worse then because air conditioning hadn’t existed yet.
But that was then and this was now.
The sun beat down on roofs and car hoods. If an owner wasn’t careful, their paint would peel away in two years if they didn’t protect it somehow.
When it’s over a hundred degrees, nobody in their right mind walks their dog or gets any outdoor exercise. The coolest part of the day is morning, and only after five o’clock in the afternoon does the temperature start to dip into the 90s.
I saw Jimmy Ray – funny name that, given the story – out by the lake with his pole in the water at three o’clock. Not sure why he chose that time to fish, but it was none of my business, not really.
Well, that’s what I thought, but I got to thinking again that maybe something wasn’t right with Jimmy. He’s done some foolish things in his life and I’ve been there to witness and experience some of them, but getting all red in the middle of the summer with no protection or shading wasn’t one of them. He knew better. All native Texans know better. At that rate, he’d have heat stroke or worse before the hour was out.
I went out to meet him since I didn’t live far from the lake.
“Everything fine, Jimmy Ray, ol’ boy?”
“Yeah. Everything’s fine, Tony. Just peachy keen.”
“Ain’t too hot out for ya? It’s over 102 now.”
“Nope, just enjoying the nice weather. I can stand a little more heat. Feels good actually.”
“Come on. Let’s go over to the house and have Vicky fix us some nice lemonade or something.”
Jimmy Ray looked over at me and took a deep breath. “Ya know, I just might take you up on that. I’m a little parched actually. Haven’t had a bite to eat or anything to drink since the ambulance took Betty Sue away. She passed away this morning, early morning. Thought I’d come and go fishing because I don’t know what I’ll do now after 46 years with her. Or maybe 47 now. Eh, I forget. It passes so quickly. Anyhow, came out to fish cause fishing just wiles away the time, if you know what I mean.”
His breath now turned into a grand sigh.
“Jimmy Ray, I’m so sorry to hear that. Tell ya what. Let’s us go get some of that lemonade. Vicky hasn’t seen you in ages. Fact is, I haven’t seen you. Let’s do some visiting. Get you out of this sun. It’s warm but…let’s get you some lemonade. How’s that?”
“Sure. I’d like that. Yeah. I’d really like that.”
Glad Tony knew Jimmy Ray well enough to approach him. It does help to keep an open mind when we see friends who seem to be acting out of character. Be open to the signs, friends. Thanks for this blessing, David.