Heat concerns of today not seen in past

Published 10:39am Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A woman with shoulder length, curly, red hair leaning against a pole in the ECHS parking lot drew my attention one torrid, hot day last week.

In an effort to offer assistance I drove over and found her clinging tightly to the pole, almost drooping onto the hot cement parking lot.

It was obvious she was suffering from the intense heat. Her face was red as an overripe pepper and she was as breathless as the community-minded Weather Channel meteorologist Al Roker.

“Lady, can I take you to the hospital or get you some water?” I asked. She replied “no, please take me to my car”. “Sure, let me help you get in my car,” I said. “Now, tell me where your car is parked?” I asked. She said “it’s over at the Byrne Park running track.”

As we drove to the park the coolness of my car air conditioner boosted her composure. I insisted that she let me get her some water but she said she had an ice chest filled with water in her car.

During the short drive she told me she had been running in the park and was overcome by the intense heat.

“I lost my sense of direction and I really don’t know how I got over to the school,” she related.

After gulping several swallows of ice water she jumped into her car and drove away.

“I suppose she is OK now,” I thought. I didn’t even get her name or where she lived. I had never seen her before. But, I detected a Florida license plate as she drove out Lindburg to South Presley and turned south toward Florida.

Heat does strange things. Many fail to recognize that only a short spell of it can cause heat strokes and fainting. I often think about all those who must work outdoors everyday and who are subject to these heat induced problems. But, I learned these workers, particularly those who work for the city, power company and telephone company know how to protect themselves. They wear protective hats, drink plenty of water and take regular breaks.

Why is it in my older years I am concerned about the dangers of heat? I don’t remember worrying about it back in the 1940s and 1950s. Do you?

Now, here’s a look back at some news of people, places and events from years past.

Sandy McGill, local hospital administrator, resigned to take a similar position at South Baldwin Hospital in Foley. The affable Dutch Henry, a Baldwin County native, was hired as McGill’s replacement.

Dr. Hugh Long moved to Atmore and assumed the practice of another chiropractor who retired. (Notice I did not mention the name of that retiring doctor because I forgot the proper spelling of his name. Was it Dr. Thornbloom or Dr Thornblom?)

Hugh, by the way, is my Sunday school teacher. And, he is an excellent teacher, indeed.

Our prayers over the last few months are for the cancer cure of his pretty little granddaughter. Hugh and his family have made several trips to the St. Jude Clinic in Memphis where she receives regular treatments. I cannot express the pleasure I get when monthly checks from my banking account are atomically drawn and sent to this clinic. Causes like this make me forget new cars, bigger homes and fancy gadgets.

In my older years I think of the many local residents, professional businessmen and women who did “good things” for Atmore and the surrounding communities in years gone by.

One particular friend, Robert Maxwell, a highly regarded and now retired local attorney, impressed me with his many talents in 1954.

An officer in the Atmore Jaycees, he was the emcee when this organization conducted its annual radio drive for the purpose of collecting toys and clothing for the underprivileged at Christ-mas. Not only was he an outstanding leader of the drive but he sounded real good on the radio, very similar to a professional announcer. His vocal talents, particularly singing duets with the former Jennie Keller, had a blend of harmony surpassed by very few. I’ll feature other persons with unique talents  in future columns.

I write stories like this from  long ago years because there are not too many writers remaining to do it. It is my hope these columns, which contain names of hundreds you knew back then, will be archived and treasured for future generations.

I read on the Internet this past week about the success of Nora Roberts, the remarkably successful short story novelist. How many of you have read her short novels? No telling how many she has written.  The internet story inspired would-be novelists to study her writing formats. Take a subject, inject unique characters, create conflict, love, intrigue  and mystery and Bingo, you have a  novel. I am sure she enjoys enormous satisfaction in all her creative work.

In some contemporary news I want to mention politics, something I seldom do.

As you have been watching on TV and reading in the newspapers, the Republicans seem to be spinning their wheels about choosing a leader to challenge President Obama in the presidential election next year.

There is a man “affixing” to explode on the scene who will capture America in the same manner Ronald Reagan did. Blessed with captivating personality and dynamic leadership he, in my opinion, is the candidate that will send opposition retreating and will unite all aspects of the Republican Party. Over the last few days his name and face is being exposed more and more on TV bites and political panel shows.

That man is Texas Governor Rick Perry.

This is only my opinion and my viewpoints do not necessarily reflect this newspaper or anyone else.

Can you  see it now? A witty small town southern columnist from Atmore Alabama predicting the winner of the 2012 Presidential race. Remember that name.

I’ll more news next week from Atmore’s yesteryears.

“….yes, it always whispers to me…..those days of long ago…”

Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at exam@frontiernet.net

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