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Pull Up A Chair…


It has been hot, hot, hot here…and all around the country, if the Weather Channel is to be believed.  The humidity here is killing me, so I thought today might be a good time to share some favorite cooling off activities, recipes, and anecdotes.

And while I’m thinking about it, a whole lot of folks don’t have the money for air conditioning, what with rising energy prices and grocery prices and gas prices and…well, you know, pretty much everything the way it is. 

So if there is an elderly person in your neighborhood without air conditioning, why not volunteer to take them out for an ice cream at the local Dairy Queen, where you can sit inside in air conditioned splendor for an hour or so.  Or check on the folks you see sitting out on the stoop on a hot evening, and see if they need some help.  Or a fan, or a bag of ice or something. 

Or if there is a person in your area that you know is disabled or shut-in for some reason, and you haven’t seen them for a while, please just stop by with an extra cold bottle of water and make sure everything is okay.  As families spread out more and more, often the folks who need the most help don’t have family on which to rely in times like this — and that makes it all the more important for them to have someone look in and be sure that everything is okay.  It just takes a minute or two, but that little bit of time can make all the difference sometimes.

The more we all pitch in and help each other through the heat wave, the stronger our communities become.  And isn’t that what we’d all like someone to do for us if we needed the help?  I’d like to think so, anyway.

One great thing that they started in our community a few years back is a "plant a row" program, so that folks with a garden can plant an extra row of something that they donate to a local food bank or charity organization that then distributes the food to families that need it.  It’s been a great success here — lots of green beans, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and all sorts of other fresh produce gets delivered weekly to the local mission (which feeds homeless and needy folks and families daily) and to a lot of organizations who then set up delivery for families that are incredibly grateful for the little bit of extra to stretch their tight food budgets. 

And it just takes a tiny bit of extra weeding and effort, but the reward is so much more for the folks who are participating. 

Thought I’d throw that out as an idea for the folks who read here and also garden.  You can contact your county agriculture extension office, or a local charity or soup kitchen, and most of the time get a great reception regarding extra produce donations.  (Okay sure, this time of year the bumper crop of zucchini is kicking in for everyone, but squash is good for you…) 

As bad as the news is every morning when I get up and turn on the television and my computer, I cannot bring myself to give up on humanity entirely, so long as some of us remain who think that helping out another person in need is truly a higher purpose.   And maybe, just maybe, by reaching out a hand to someone who needs the help up, we’ll change the course of someone else’s life just enough that they will someday be able to pass on the favor to someone else who also needs that hand somewhere down the road.

Hmmmm…maybe it’s the heat, but that seemed a little too profound for this early in the coffee drinking this morning.  So pull up a chair…and let’s talk about the things you’ve been doing to keep cool.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com