Monday, September 20, 2010

Spring Forward, Fall South

This is Hume-Fogg High School. It's located right in downtown Nashville just a block or two from my office. Every year when the new school year starts, I am reminded that, as a kid back in Colorado, school started on September 3 every year and not too long after Daylight Savings time would end. Now school starts sometime in the beginning of August and Daylight Savings time runs to sometime in November. Makes me wonder why do it at all. As a kid, I always equated the start of FALL with school. The days became a bit cooler and by October we had falling leaves and even snow (it was Colorado after all.)

Here in Nashville, fall is a mere 2 weeks long. It's never the same time, but I can plan on those two weeks of easy weather, cool breezes and turning off the AC to get the windows open. After those two weeks, we have rain, rain and - you guessed it, more rain. Though many would deny it, the South has a fifth season, which falls sometime around the end of summer and the beginning of winter (along with that 2 week fall period.) It's called Hurricane Season.

Tropical Depressions start mixing it up out in the Caribbean (Why do they call them Depressions? Are they sad about the weather, too?) and before long they start marching in toward the coast of Florida. Usually, (USUALLY) they break up before they get too far inland, so we here in Tennessee only see a couple solid weeks of heavy rain followed by light rain, followed by drizzle and...lather, rinse, repeat.

Rain in Tennessee means humidity regardless of the season. Humidity that can be 80% or more at 7 in the morning. Makes you feel like you just stepped out of a shower. Oh and Rain? Means that while my 'Bubba' in Colorado is putting away his lawn mower for the winter, I'm still worrying about getting one good dry day to mow just one more time (or maybe two or three) before the cold weather really sets in. You don't want the snow (yes, Nashville gets snow but we'll get to that later this winter) piled up on extra long grass, that's just not kosher. So, if the weather won't let you, you may have to get out in that drizzle and get the grass mowed at least one last time.

Nothing says "Where is that dang foole* from?" than mowing the yard in the rain. I've done it and it's probably why none of my neighbors really consider me one of the 'good ol' boys'.

* I use the extra 'e' on Foole to draw emphasis to the fact that only a true Foole such as myself would mow his lawn in the rain. At least it's not an electric mower.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Travelin' in Style

When you drive through most cities, you see neighborhoods which have a certain homogeneous quality. Each home bears a passing resemblance to its neighbor. In older parts of the South, homes have a uniqueness which belies this homogeneous nature. Homes in the South (especially the OLDER homes) are by far and away, some of the most unique in the country. Big sprawling plantation style estates dotted with Spanish moss and weeping willows, wrap around porches and huge rooms with those high ceilings all point to both elegance and function.

Which brings me to the picture above. This reminds me of something I'd see parked in a Walmart parking lot off I-40 with a passel of kids harassing mom and dad as they try to get enough Moon Pies and RC cola stocked for the winter. Dad has spent an inordinate amount of time getting the house ready for the winter by nailin' up just enough scrap plywood to hold the insulation in place. (Insulation: wadded up plastic bags from Walmart...I'm just guessing...) The rest of the vehicle seems like it's in good shape (meaning nonrusty, no visible bondo and no more plywood) which makes a fella wonder at just what happened to the entire side of that thing.

What really makes me wonder at the innovation and yes, uniqueness of this vehicle is the windows covered with what looks like plastic wrap. Yeah, that'll keep the cold winters out.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Notice My Protective Shield?

This is one of those pictures which sort of makes you look twice. At first glance it appears that our intrepid traveler has been working on a new passive protection device for motorcyclists. On SECOND glance you can see that this good ol' boy has decided not to wait for Bubba with his pick em up truck to take his grill somewhere. I'm saying GRILL, but I don't' mean his sparkly teeth (that's for them strange El Ay types) and it's not the front of his 57 Dodge. It's a piece of equipment for barbecuing. You can see that the rider's 'face shield' is actually where the propane tank would sit and...well, the rest is sort of self explanatory - other than where he might carry the spatula...

I love the south, and I love my friends. I think, however, I might have waited for Bubba and his pick em up truck.