July 11, 2012 - When I got to the office this morning (Monday), the green-lit, digital clock on my vehicle's instrument cluster read 6:26. Next to that, was displayed the external temperature: 60.
When I got out to get into the office I actually shivered.
Hot damn, I shivered!
A 40 degree swing (dip) in temperature meant living was bearable again. I cannot remember a hotter summer. I remember the summer of 1988 when we had something like five or six days in the 90 degree area. I remember, because at that time I was running six miles a night and that heat wave pretty much put the damper on any further exercise in my life.
(I blame the weather for my expanded waist line, not my lack of discipline.)
Before this past Sunday, when the weather broke for the better, it was pretty interesting at Casa d'Rush. No air conditioning forced me to break out the fans for sleeping. On the plus side of making lemonade outta lemons, I did learn a new trick to help keep the bite off the heat during the day (you may want to try this yourself): if you have a basement turn on your furnace's fan -- it sucks up the cooler air from down low and blows it upstairs. It's kinda neat.
Gardening in the heat forced me to get up early and water my plants around 5 a.m. Usually I catch rain water and water the garden that way. Not this year.
The one big rain we got last week (I think in Goodrich we got about seven tenths of an inch during a 20 minute shower), I was able to cool down, after I shucked my duds and donned my bathing suit. In the rain and under the lightning, I worked in the yard, looked at the plants in my garden, swept the driveway and put my head under the gutter's water spout.
(I'm sure the neighbors dug my boyish exuberance for frolicking in the rain.)
Soon the hot weather returned and again I bemoaned my station in life ... hot, too hot. For some reason I started to think about summer businesses. Landscaping, boat sales, tree-trimming I mentally listed off . . . then I hit on something: ice cream!
Another one of my 47 Achilles heals is ice cream. I love ice cream (which I am sure has nothing to do with my expanded waistline). So, I called an ice cream place that's been around a long time (25 years) -- the Dairy Dream at the corner Sashabaw and Maybee roads. I asked owner Sarah Beauchamp how business has been this summer. I think she was taken back to being questioned by a complete stranger and was hesitant to answer.
"It's not bad. When it's really hot it can work against you," she said tepidly. "The ice cream melts fast and some people stay inside."
"Really?" I queried, working my impishly persuasive charms, and then I think she started warming up to me.
"But for the most part it has been an amazing year," she opened up. "All these sunny days, strung together. I almost feel guilty about how good it has been going."
Weather is the number one boon or bust reason for an ice cream biz, she shared. "It's not pricing. It's not competition. It is the only thing I have no control over -- the weather," she said.
The early and mild (some times warm) spring got people out and in a good mood for ice cream. The opposite was true in 2011. "I almost felt like retiring," she confided. "This year, it's the best business to be involved with. It's weird. Michigan, of all the dumb states to have a business that is dependent on the weather."
The Dairy Dream was started by her brother in July of 1987, "And, I've been there ever since."
New this year, says she, is an orange-flavored soft, whipped goodness thing. She twists it with vanilla and, well, let's just say it's kinda addicting. Cook's Dairy ice cream is being served this year, too.
The Dairy Dream, during peak season (read: right now) is open from 11 to 11 . . . and I whilst I am thinking about it, I am getting a hankering for some orange whipped twist goodness thingy right now . . . if the weather holds up and stays warm, that is.
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: email@example.com