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Wow! If you've heard about rain coming down in sheets and.... Whoops! Don't call. You're right. That was the start of the last 'cuff in July. Just got my wires crossed again and caught it in time. What I meant to write was, "When have the lawns been so green and beautiful at the end of July?" The weather subject has been going around lately concerning the hottest days we've ever had. I've thought that myself. Has it been the humidity? But so far it hasn't hit the century mark.

Since the start of our new century, just nineteen years ago -- where have those years gone? -- five of the summers didn't have a hundred-degree day, 2002, 2004, 2013, 2016 and 2017. And last year, good old 2018, recorded just four so-hot days, July 11, 12, 19 and 20. But there have been some sizzlers -- just 74 years ago, when the hottest temp ever recorded in Gravette occurred -- 114 degrees on July 19, 1936. It was matched on Aug. 3, 2011, and the following year on July 30 Westside Eagle Observer residents sizzled in 113-degree heat.

That's enough weather news from the NOAA station which I have shared before; hope I didn't hit too many wrong numbers. Just in case, I'll double-check it. Hmmm ... on to the story about the visitor from outer space mentioned earlier. It occurred on the eve of July fourth while walking in the back yard to check if there were any cucumbers forming in the postage stamp garden. On the return to the house, I noticed a strange object in the yard which hadn't been there a few minutes before. It was almost dark but curiosity got the best of me. I wandered over to the object which sort of looked like a bird or a little branch with leaves. And there it lay, a cylindrical tube with fins that resemble those found on those big boy rockets which we see pictured on the tube.

It was still warm as I picked it up. Straining my eyes in the almost night darkness, I made out the words "Atlas Missile." Inside, I was able to make out various warning statements of this "flammable rocket" advising that its owner should carefully read all those warnings which ended with these words: "This rocket travels at high speeds and can travel long distances. It may result in injury or fire!" By the way, it was a foot tall.

The next morning, before you could even hear firecrackers popping like they did when I was a kid, I examined the spot where this dangerous missile had landed. The zoysia grass was already whitening and later in the day turned a singed brown. Whew ... it hadn't landed on my head or on the roof just a few feet away. And, fortunately, there was not brownish grass that crinkles underfoot which might have, just might have ... well, you know the rest of the story. I'm a fireworks fan, but ... that's enough of that.

A drive around Eagle Observer country shows the NLs have popped up in the area a few days or weeks earlier than their usual arrival. You don't understand what NLs are? Just ask a neighbor who will probably tell you. One group which usually arrives in our front yard hasn't yet made an appearance but, hiding behind a forsythia shrub, are several peeking out at passersby. They won't be around long; they will move on but our bright red spider lilies should appear who knows when. They're a pretty independent bunch.

Oh, yes. I almost forgot those other pertinent hot summer stats: Summers which accumulated the most century and over days were: 1936 with 62 days, 1954 with 47 days and 1934 with 41 days. And recently there were 20 days in 2000 and real sizzlers, 37 days in 2012 and 39 days in that hot summer of 2011. I think we're in pretty good shape for this year.

Back to today -- make that last week when a (maybe) squirrel was up to his old tricks, not nibbling on the ears of corn in that PS garden but possibly was busy causing a blackout in parts of northeast Gravette. The tube went black a little before the news comes on in the early evening. Not those opinionated news shows but the local channels which do their best to cover all of the area. Of course, it too often takes a crime or disaster for the cameras to show up, but they have broad areas to cover and time and space are limited. Their coverage, especially weather warnings, is especially appreciated.

Anyway, the guys of Liberty Utilities, used to be Empire, got the repairs completed in a couple of hours. Whether it was a transformer blowout, so often caused by a squirrel, or whatever, the tube returned in time to watch what was billed as a political debate. About 10 minutes were enough of that. I blackened the tube and picked up the paper that had arrived in the evening with a lot of double-sided national and state reports. More about why I cherish that morning paper later.

And more about white pickup trucks which caught my attention a few months ago. The latest experience was a topper for later. If I can remember.

Since this was written before Decatur's celebration, hopefully, those heavy rains predicted for Saturday will dry up and the sun will shine -- and a sunny, cool, dry day will be enjoyed on Gravette Day, Saturday, Aug. 10.

Dodie Evans is the former owner and long-time editor of the Gravette News Herald. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 08/07/2019

Print Headline: Heat, squirrel, NLs and a UFO?

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