Blog 2432 – 06.22.2022
Hot, Hot Days & Cold, Cold Hearts
Yesterday was the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, almost fourteen and a half hours of daylight. The days here will begin to grow shorter till the anniversary of my dad’s birthday, December 21, the shortest day of the year. The lowest high temperature in Houston this week was 96 degrees Fahrenheit. We are expecting three days in a row to hit or just surpass the one hundred mark. If the past is any reliable indicator of the future we here in hot Houston will be running the A/C even on the shortest day of the year.
My mom like most all the women and girls that I have known did not like the cold winters even in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She must have hated the winters in Detroit, Michigan when we lived there in the early nineteen-fifties.
My dad loved to hunt and so he always looked forward to cold weather because it was hunting season. As a teenager I went deer hunting with dad on several occasions. Duck, quail, rabbit and squirrel seasons were also open during deer hunting season so dad liked to hunt with pump shotguns so he could carry a mixed load of deer slugs and various sizes of shot for whatever we came across in the woods and fields.
Dad did not mind the cold, he said one just needed to dress for it and we sure did. Layers and layers of clothes were necessary to keep from freezing on those frosty cold mornings and we would peal off layer after layer as the sun came up and got higher in the sky.
I was never much of a hunter. I recall shooting one quail and one rabbit. I never even shot at a deer or a duck and could never hit a squirrel. But I loved walking in the woods with my dad. Some of my fondest memories of him are outdoors in cold weather. My dad worked long hard hours in the summer and even as the sun stayed up much longer we rarely saw him before dark except on Sundays.
Sunday was Father’s Day and a dear friend and fan of my blog pointed out that I have a theme going this week, remembering my dad. James Clifford White was in a word, a character. My mom used to say he was an old man when he married her at twenty-six. She was eighteen. Dad grew up a dirt poor white boy in the South where there was an understood caste system as defined as those in India. People were not expected to rise much above the station of their parents and were supposed to stay with their “own kind.” What a poisonous notion that kind of thinking is but it is still prevalent not just in the south but all across this nation and around the world.
About the time I was born a new war began, the Cold War. When I turned twenty our then President, Richard Millhouse Nixon, declared a War on Drugs. These make believe wars have cost us all dearly and filled our cemeteries and prisons to overflowing. My dad was an angry white man who had been taught no matter how humble his birth that he was better than some folks. He was not, nor are any of us, to even entertain such an idea only exposes our own inferiority complex. We are not less than nor more than any of our brothers and sisters.
Love still if allowed can warm the coldest heart, keep us cool under the hottest circumstances, and open shuttered eyes to see beyond outward differences to the sameness that unites us all. A Christian song from the seventies said, “We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord, and we pray that our unity will one day be restored, and they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” Love is way bigger than Christianity and our family much bigger than just those who look and think like us.
Not even a Hank Williams song can melt a cold, cold heart, but love can.
Your friend and fellow traveler,
Cold, Cold Heart