Heat- -it’s roasting the green beans!

Heat. It’s a fact of life in summertime Walla Walla. But not this early. And not this much.


The heat is white-hot. People from more humid Western Washington are quick to point out that over here we experience “dry heat,” to which any good Walla Wallan will reply, “Dry like an oven.” Some of our western friends got a taste of that kind of heat as well recently, and it made them absolutely miserable. That’s because most households “over there” lack our secret weapon: in-home air conditioning.


We will soon emerge from an unbroken stretch (10-days? 2 weeks?) of triple digit highs here in the Banana Belt of Southeastern Washington. With luck, the Excessive Heat Warning will expire at 8 PM Sunday, July 4, as currently predicted.


You know you’re getting acclimated to extreme heat when you get into your car at 9 PM, look at the dashboard thermometer say to yourself, “Oh. Good. It’s only 101.”


And there’s absolutely nothing you can wear that’s cool enough to be outside. Not shorts. Not even a sundress.

Yeah. Can you please picture me in something cooler than a turtleneck and a fake leather jumper?


I can definitely sympathize, Lily and 9. You know it’s hot when your inner 14-year-old and inner 9-year-old feel it, too.


For a decade-plus of summers Bruce and I worked outdoors in extreme heat, sometimes four and five shows a day as cowboy music duo Nevada Slim & Cimarron Sue. Honestly, I don’t know how we survived. The wide-brimmed cowboy hats that were integral to our costumes helped, and we did our best to stay hydrated, and apply and re-apply sunscreen throughout the day. But still. . .one or the other or both of us would occasionally suffer a spell of heat exhaustion.


This year, when the afternoon triple-digits set in and continue to rise, a quick trip to the mailbox has to be offset by a 12-ounce glass of water. I toss in some electrolyte powder if I get to feeling nauseous or light-headed. Anything that requires much physical exertion has to be done before 8 AM. Need to water the desiccated garden beds in hopes that some of it will survive? Do it before 8 AM. Swimming at the outdoor community pool? Do it before 8 AM.


One of the problems with the current heat wave: the overnight temperatures haven’t dropped below the mid-70s. Some nights I’ve left the air conditioning on, so it’s cool enough to sleep.


Clothes have been an issue, too. Not daytime clothes- -I’m good alternating between two pairs of shorts and a couple of tank tops for ordinary life. But the Walla Walla Chamber Summer Music Festival (5 concerts, the last one on July 3) has coincided with the heat wave. It’s a rare opportunity to dress up, but, as someone who’s lived most of their life in cooler Western Washington, most of my “nice” clothes are for cool weather. I’m no fashionista, but looking in the closet at my 2 sundresses (one second-hand, the other purchased in 2000), and one lightweight black cotton skirt (from my Cimarron Sue wardrobe c. 2004 and so sun damaged it has a rusty cast) gave me pause.


I quickly found something at the high end of my budget that suited my aesthetics and active lifestyle at the Title Nine website:




The new (!) summer dress arrived Wednesday, in time for the July 3rd concert.

Heat- -a great excuse to buy a brand new summer dress for the first time in 20 years!

It’s cute, too.

For an older person.


Thanks, Lily– -not so much, 9. Anyway, I’m happy with it and it’s highly packable, perfect for my limited but happily anticipated 2021 summer travels.


Heat. It’s not going to let up soon. The 10-day forecast predicts highs between 96 and 103, lows from 65 to 71. With a bit of caution this is livable. Which reminds me- -time to water the garden beds and hop on the Nordic Track, because 8 AM will be here before you know it!

Heat- -with luck, it will “only” be 96F when this concert starts on July 3 . . .

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