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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Heat Wave

We have been having a heat wave in Ohio. For some of you, our heat wave is a “nice day”.
For the past week or so, it has been very hot and very humid. Very tropical feeling.
This should not come as a big surprise to us Buckeyes.
It happens every year about this time.
Yet, we get surprised, flustered, and whine.
We are a people with very short term memory issues where the weather is concerned.

We tend to be surprised when we see the first snow-fall in November (or October, or September), we know it is going to happen; still we are dumb-founded when it does.
Northern Ohio is a weatherman's dream, or nightmare; depending upon one's attitude toward challenges. Years ago, my Lovely Bride worked at one of the local television stations. Her regular shift was the weekend production crew. Upon occasion, I would go down to the station to visit with her, grab a quick dinner between news-casts, and rub elbows with the local luminaries.
I always enjoyed visiting with the meteorologists. Most were not natives to Ohio, having come from places with much more mundane weather, such as the Carolinas, or Florida. It gets boring to say it is going to be sunny, 85 °, and chance of afternoon showers day after day. Due to the tremendous climate influence Lake Erie has, plus the heat and humidity oozing up the Mississippi River valley to the Great Lakes makes things interesting. Toss in the ever-present possibility of cool, dry Canadian air slipping over the border; the sheer number of variables present were a never ending delight to these folks. I would be amused at their unbridled enthusiasm and delight as they would watch dark storm clouds roll in from across the open waters of the Lake.
So cute, so adorable; just like a child going to their first carnival. After a couple of carnivals, the charm wears thin. You tire of cotton candy stuck to your shoes, and sitting in someone's spilled Coke. So it is with the weather. One becomes weary of knowing the clouds will either dump a bunch of snow, or bring flooding rains, or power-line destroying winds. Like over-used French fry oil; it tends to stink after a while.
I am a somewhat avid historical researcher and writer; as evidenced by my book 1850: Death on Erie.
On a whim, I decided to research the origins of some of the Native American names attributed to areas around here.
“Cuyahoga” for example, is an Erie Indian word meaning “crooked, like a snake”. “Erie” itself is a Native word meaning “cat”, more than likely a reference to the bob-cats and mountain lions which once lived upon the Northern Shore of Ohio. The neighboring county of “Geauga” is an Anglicized version of “Sheoga”... which means “raccoon”, again paying homage to the abundance of the little masked critters in the area.
I did a good bit of research into the origins of “Ohio”. After much digging, and research, the consensus is the word Ohio derives from the Seneca word “ohi;yo” which means “beautiful river”, or “great river”

However, while the name is no-doubt of Native origin, I am convinced beyond all doubt the meaning is different
The original meaning of the word was:

Land between big water and big river, with totally messed up weather.”
Only in Ohio, can a person be driving to work with the early morning temperature already hitting 82 °, only to pass a Chevy dealership having a Winter Pickup/Snow-plow Special!
Only in Ohio, can you use your air conditioning AND furnace within 24 hours.

Only in Ohio can you be enjoying a beautiful Fall or Spring day, sunny, warm, perfect weather; only to wake up and find 6 inches of snow in your driveway the next morning.
Only in Ohio can you dress for cold and snow when you leave your house, only to be stripping off layers as the thermometer shoots past 75.
Only in Ohio, can you feel as if you are deep in a Louisiana bayou come Summer, and feel as if you are deep in the Alaskan tundra come Winter.
Still... it is just these vagaries which make us who we are.

We tend to not get flustered over little upsets. Hey, it is part of life. Just wait a bit; it will change.

We tend to be easily adaptable to the unforeseen. When you grow up not being assured that your golf jacket will be adequate in a few hours, you learn how to adapt and adjust.

We tend to be fairly tough. This isn't any place for sissies or pansies!
And... we tend to be a little bit goofy. Hey, living with constant seemingly mindless random change can do that to a person.
I sit and smile, even though the office air-conditioning is on hiatus, knowing in just a few short months, I will be using my four-wheel drive in the snow.
Ohio... ya gotta love it.

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