Magazine article Sunset

The Cooling-Off Issue

Magazine article Sunset

The Cooling-Off Issue

Article excerpt

FROM THE EDITOR

* August is when summer finally ripens to its full potential in the West. In the area south of San Francisco where I live, it's the time when the fog finally lifts, when I can be reasonably sure that a weekend will include dipping my feet into a pool, or a river, or at least using the garden hose to send a little cooling spray up and over me.

When it gets really hot, I'm reminded of childhood vacations to visit my grandparents, who lived in Coalinga, a little town in California's Central Valley. There, the thermometer was routinely in the 90s or 100s. You could see the heat rising in waves off the highway, and everything seemed to move in slower motion. To cool off, we volunteered daily to wash my grandfather's Buick, walked to Thrifty's for an ice cream cone, and went swimming at the junior college, which had a terrifying high dive. At night, we slept in the backyard in sleeping bags, watching for shooting stars and listening to the crickets. …

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