on October 31, 2014 by in Golden News, Comments Off on Finally – the sweet return of darkness

Finally – the sweet return of darkness

Fall back. I can’t wait.

From the time that clocks are changed in the fall until the time clocks are changed in the spring, I am a good-hearted, open-minded and generous curmudgeon.

Or maybe I am a more good-hearted, open-minded and generous curmudgeon than I am the rest of the time. You might not even notice the difference.

See if my columns between those dates (Nov. 2, 2014 to March 8, 2015) aren’t just as sweet as honey on a turnip.

I am always pleased to see July and August go away. I refuse to suffer, so my energy bills are high.

I can’t paint and I can’t write when it’s hot.

I used to live east of here. I would be a drip if I lived east of here now. I would be dripping. The worst weather ever anywhere is humid weather. Humidity is the devil in my book.

St. Louis in the summer is the devil’s idea of a good time. I have been there in the summer. It was a mistake.

St. Louis has one of the greatest monuments in America: Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch. It was designed in 1947 (so was I), and opened in 1968.

It still looks like a contemporary design, and always will. It’s brilliant. Simple, elegant, eloquent and brilliant.

On the other hand, St. Louis is a contraption made out of sweaty Americans, and many of them can’t leave because they are elderly or just don’t have the funds.

(I am sure that there are thousands of others who are devoted to St. Louis, so save your emails.)

Do you remember the 1995 Chicago heat wave? Chicago is another one. I couldn’t live there, even though the collection in the Art Institute is unmatched in the United States.

In 1995, there were about 750 heat-related deaths. Wikipedia states that most of the deaths were “elderly poor residents of the inner city, who could not afford air conditioning and did not open windows or sleep outside for fear of crime.”

(There were additional deaths in St. Louis.)

I am lucky, very lucky. I am retired and living on a pension.

It’s crossed my mind that I might not have been so lucky. I might have ended up in an eastern city with not much money, no dachshund, no Jennifer, and an apartment that looked like it had been written by Raymond Chandler.

Gauzy curtains in an open window that let in hot air. Holding my head and watching my houseplants droop.

This is called “counting your blessings.”

I do every day. Sure, I am a cranky. That won’t change, because people don’t change, and what we do to each other sometimes is unconscionable.

I can’t overlook some of the things that we do to each other.

But Colorado helps. It helps me, I know that.

There are no excuses. It’s never too hot or cold in my home for me to do what I need to do.

Except in July and August. I get around it by writing and painting not long after midnight. I go to the grocery store not long after midnight.

I don’t like to change my clocks. Some years I haven’t. I never change the one in the guest room. Why would I? I never have any guests.

Who would want to stay here? My sarcasm wakes up early and stays up late.

The heat index reached 119 at O’Hare in 1995, and 125 at Midway. On a good day, O’Hare is a pain in the neck.

In 1977, I applied for teaching positions all over the country. I wasn’t very selective. I just wanted a full-time job.

I was living in Phoenix. The devil’s other idea of a good time.

I got a call from a college in Denver.


Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at [email protected].


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