If you follow the national weather, you know that the Sunbelt has been suffering through a brutally hot summer. In parts of Texas, it’s been hotter than 100 degrees almost every day, and even up into the Great Plains, they’ve regularly endured three-digit temperatures.

Meanwhile, we’ve been having a typically beautiful Maine summer. We had a few very hot days back in July, but August has been characteristically temperate.

I confess that every time I see coverage of the summer heat wave, I’m tempted to make my own version of “the call.” Especially when the weather is perfect here — sunny, about 80 degrees, and not too humid.

You know “the call.” You probably get it in winter from some friend or relative of yours who left New England for the south. Some day in February, or maybe even January, the phone will ring. It may be your Aunt Martha, or the couple who used to live across the street, or someone you used to work with. In our house, it’s my parents, who have retired to North Carolina.

Some snowy or brutally cold winter day, the phone will ring. Dad will be on the line. “It’s almost 60 degrees here. I just played a round of golf,” he’ll say, trying not to sound like he’s gloating, though of course he is. “What’s it like where you are?” he asks, unsuccessfully attempting to sound as if he doesn’t already know that it’s in the low teens and we’re having a blizzard.

“It’s snowing, Dad,” I’ll say, with artificial enthusiasm. I add a couple of inches to the actual snow total and try to sound happy about it. I gush over how long it’s been since we’ve seen the lawn under the blanket of snow hiding it. I explain that, with expensive high-tech clothing, you can ski, or ride, no matter how cold the weather.

Somehow, though, I never manage to make Dad wish he was wintering in the frozen north rather than the sunny south.

On some perfect Maine summer’s day, aren’t you tempted to call some Sunbelt friends to gloat? “Really, it’s 98 degrees there and humid? And an air quality alert, so you couldn’t go outside even if you wanted to?”

We could make that call, but we don’t. Mainers just don’t do that. Instead, we keep our summers to ourselves and suffer through it when someone from the smug Sunbelt set makes “the call” in winter.

I’ve got a better idea, but it will require some advance planning. The next time we have a perfect summer day, keep a record of how you enjoyed it, so you can recall it perfectly when you get “the call” next winter.

Here are my notes from last weekend:

6:30 am. About 60 degrees, with a little fog. Perfect for a morning run. Low clouds started to lift just as I returned home. Went for a swim in the lake to cool off afterwards. Enjoyed coffee on the dock in the morning sunshine.

Morning. Got caught up on some yard work. No bugs. Sunny, warm — mid 70s, dry. Cleaned up by taking another swim.

Ate lunch on the dock. Dessert was a raspberry pie made with local raspberries. Took a nap in the hammock.

Mid-afternoon. Sky is now a deep cobalt, no clouds. In the sun, it feels like it might be in the low 80s. Took the boat to Belgrade Lakes village, admired water lilies and counted turtles sunning themselves in the stream.

Wandered through the village shops. Ran into a friend at Days. We went for ice cream and sat in the sun, chatting for an hour or two.

Another swim before dinner. Ate snacks and had cocktails on the dock. A pair of loons swam nearby and an osprey flew overhead.

Ate dinner on the deck, watching the sun get lower in the sky. Joined the neighbors on their dock for an after-dinner drink and to watch the sunset.

Evening. Built a fire; made s’mores. The smoke and a light breeze mostly kept the bugs away. Went inside around 9 p.m. Note that weather hit the mid-90s with high humidity where the parents are in North Carolina.

I didn’t make “the call” that day to gloat about our perfect weather, but when I’m on the receiving end this winter, I’ll describe this day to them and tell them how our summer days are so perfect that just thinking about them can keep you warm all winter long.

Joseph R. Reisert is associate professor of American constitutional law and chairman of the department of government at Colby College in Waterville.


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