Column: Taking the heat over the cold

• Originally published in the Kane County Chronicle on June 23, 2009

The heat is on.

And as I swelter through summer’s first temperature spike of the year, my air conditioning fighting a losing battle against nature, I still can’t help but think — “this sure is better than winter.”

I’m not one of those people who grumble through winter wishing it was warmer and then grumble through summer wishing it were cooler. I just grumble through winter. A lot. Ask my wife. I was slipping Florida brochures in her coat pocket by March.

But the heat, that I can take.

I’ve always been a fan of hot June, July and August days. My brother and I practically lived outdoors in the summer growing up. (Our mother had a lot to say about this.)

Sure, most of the time we were packing water guns, the ultimate toy for training little boys to become either soldiers, firefighters or Lazer Tag attendants. But we were both so skinny and such bad shots that we rarely landed a cooling blow. Rather, we had to shoot the stream of water up in the air and run under it to cool off. (We weren’t the most popular kids in the neighborhood, to be honest.)

My point is that the heat never seemed to bother us.

Now, while I certainly prefer summer to winter, I’d be lying if I said the heat didn’t bother me anymore and that I don’t actively seek excuses for going inside an air-conditioned building when taking a summer’s day walk with my wife in downtown Chicago.

“Of course I want to go into this women’s clothing store and wait on a bench while you shop! Please? Just for a minute?”

But I do my best to ignore the sometimes insufferable heat, treating myself to big glasses of iced lemonade and sticking my face into a small desk fan when it gets too warm in the office. My desk fan, which I just bought this summer, is quickly becoming my closest pal. Had I met it a year or so earlier, I very well might have asked it to be the best man at my wedding.

In fact, I try my best to embrace the heat while it’s here. I want to love summer as much as possible the short time it exists in northern Illinois. Winter always seems to be just around the corner, and I don’t want to go into the cold months having complained through most of the warm months, months that I’m just going to wish were here again once it gets cold.

Wishing for the next season all the time will just make my life pass by much too quickly, I fear.

So, yes it’s hot.

You could even say it’s miserably hot.

But the sun is out. The days are long. Cold tea and lemonade are available at just about any store.

And as I write this, my wife just got home from work and asked whether I wanted to go on a walk with her when I finished writing my column.

“Of course,” I told her. “I would absolutely love to.

“But can we be sure to walk near some air-conditioned stores? You know, just in case you want to go shopping.”

Joe Grace is the editor of The Chronicle. Write to him at jgrace@kcchronicle.com or call him at 630-845-5368.

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