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Edisto Island, SC


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Hunting Island State Park


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Red Bubble

About Our Animals

Homer's Pond

In Honor of My Mother

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Homer's Vietnam Experiences

Homer's Room

Tib's Room

The Capital of Summer!


By Tibby Dozier Steedly (a good ole girl)

First of all, I do not live in New England where summers are spent enjoying the mild temperatures and green meadows.  Nor do I live in the American West where temperatures can get very high - but it's a dry heat!

No, I live in the Capital City of Summer - Columbia, South Carolina!  This is the city where summer lasts from May until October.  This is the place where insects outnumber humans by 987 trillion to one.  This is the town where wisteria (which looks so deceivingly pretty in the flower catalogs) becomes an evil, twisted plant with vines the size of trees.  The beautiful shrubs and vines that looked so lovely during the mild, fragrant Spring, are now bent with the weight of mutant, monster growth gone wild.  

People who have lived in Africa and the Tropics arrive in Columbia only to collapse at the airport in stunned horror.

This essay on summer is my annual gripe.  Around July of every year I get very mean.  My husband works at the office a lot and the dogs avoid me.  Friends stop calling and my mother and sister start giving me a look that says, "Uh oh.  It's July again."  I plead illness to avoid leaving the house, preferring instead the cocoon of green and coolness that I've created in the air conditioned house.  I don't like anything in the summer.  I curse the nightly news and commercials on television.  I cry at cat food commercials.   I clean the house like someone possessed.  I feel fat and ugly.  My brain feels like it's coated with a warm jelly and I can't think of ordinary words in conversation like "cup."  I begin referring to everything as "that thing."   It has begun.  The Summer Syndrome.

Here is a typical summer day in Columbia.

4:00 am - Get up and start watering the grass and doing yard work with a flashlight taped to my forehead while waving my arms in the air to break the millions of spider webs that have been built during the night over the door and steps by ambitious spiders.   The temperature at this time of morning is only a balmy 90 degrees so it's the only time to get out in the yard and enjoy the pleasures of summer.  Try to see the stars but the humidity has caused a type of greenhouse effect.  All I can see is a haze.  I think I see the moon, but it may just be my flashlight beam reflecting off the pollution.

Return to the house where the air conditioning is so cold that we could hang meat in the dining room.  Notice cockroaches huddling together in a corner for warmth.  


5:00 am - Take a cool shower.

5:30 am - Feed outside cats.  Clean snails, slugs, wasps, flies and mosquitoes out of feeding bowls.  Jump around like a maniac to avoid mosquitoes.  Throw several cans of cat food at cats and run for house.

6:00 am - Take a nap

7:00 am - Begin all errands that involve driving through town.  Get groceries, gas, laundry, etc.  Keep air conditioner blasting the entire time that I'm in the car.  Can barely hear the radio above the ac.  Keep wiping sunglasses off since they steam up every time I get out of the car.  Avoid talking to people.  Get my car washed at the automatic carwash and consider it the highlight of my day.  Consider taking the car back through with the windows open.

9:00 am - Take a cool shower.

10:00 am - Make my way to the vegetable garden to begin picking the morning crop.  Wave hands in front of my face to break the spider webs that have been built over the steps during the last twenty minutes.  Cover entire body with Deep Woods Off.  Step carefully into garden while watching for snakes.  Wonder what has happened to the neighbor's house during the night, but eventually see a glimpse of roof through the wisteria vines.  I hope the neighbors are ok.  Pick vegetables.

11:00 - Take a cold bath with ice cubes floating in water.

Noon - Fix a cold lunch for husband who arrives home from work.  Step back as he runs into the house waving his arms and screaming "skeeters, skeeters, webs, webs!"  Pick tiny spiders out of husband's hair, wipe his face and serve him lunch. (Note:  "skeeters" are mosquitoes for those who ain't from around here.)

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm - Take nap.  Get up several times to check on what the terrible noise is outside only to discover that katydids are buzzing like a berserk transformer outside the window.

4:15 pm - Replace the cockroach traps.

4:30 pm - Make my way back out to the yard to feed the cats again.  All the cats are sleeping in strange flattened positions in the ivy.  Break the spider webs around the back steps again.  I think the webs are thicker now.  Begin slapping at mosquitoes.  Think I see several snakes hanging from the branches of the dogwood tree, but can't really tell for all the wisteria vines hanging down.  Feed the cats, empty out their water bowl which is now filled with dead insects and give them plenty of fresh water with the garden hose.  Turn the garden hose on myself in a frantic effort to kill the mosquitoes.  Run for the house.

5:00 pm - Take a freezing cold bath and pant a lot.

5:30 pm - Husband returns from work and enters the house looking dazed and covered with red welts.  I brush the tiny spiders out of his hair and feed him a cold supper.  

6:00 pm - Begin watching all the nightly news programs and cursing a lot.  Husband is wearing headphones and looks frightened.  

7:00 pm - 11:00 pm - Sit like a zombie and watch my husband flip through over 900 channels of television, never stopping at one for more than 5 seconds. I begin to twitch.   Wonder why we ever got cable.  Occasionally wander out to the screened porch to beat back the wisteria and jasmine vines growing through the screen wire.

11:15 pm - Let the dogs outside for a few minutes only to race outside and beat the mosquitoes away.  Throw them back inside the house.  Spend several minutes rescuing moths that got into the house when the door was open for a micro-second.

11:30 pm - Take a cold bath and count mosquito bites for the day.  

Midnight - Go to bed listening to the sound of crickets and frogs on the CD player by the bed. Remember the days before air conditioning when we listened to the crickets and frogs through the open window.   Consider moving to Canada.

Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a tiny bit, but this is really what it feels like around here.  When I see people jogging in July, I think that either they are totally insane or they obviously ain't from around here!

So, folks.  Enjoy summer wherever you are.  Enjoy your picnics, swims, biking and vacations.  Think of me with pity.  Bless the saintly person who invented air conditioning.  And...don't turn your back on wisteria!



Please note that we finally surrendered and are running away to live in the cool mountains of North Carolina.  Goodbye Columbia, you are beautiful in the Spring, but summers that last from May through October are just too much for us!