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Silver Threads: In the good old summertime

When my Aunt Millie was nearing the age of 90, she was noted for walking into a room, taking a breath, fanning herself with her hand, and saying, “Is it just me, or is it hot in here?”
“She’s having another hot flash,” routinely remarked a daughter, only to be routinely told by her sister, “Mama can’t. Nobody has hot flashes when they’re this old.”
I’ve been beginning to wonder about that, because this — my 81st — is shaping up to be the “summer” of my discontent. (I googled that and found out Shakespeare’s line was “winter” of our discontent, but have used mine anyhow.) I’ve never known a hotter June and July and wondered whether old people heat up on their way to eternity.
So I googled again — only I used “getting hotter with age” and came up with websites listing celebrities who’ve reached their 40s and in rare cases ancient 50s and look even better than they ever did. Here’s one list, if you’re remotely interested:
Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Anniston, Nicole Kidman, Bradley Cooper, Sarah Jessica Parker, George Clooney, Daniel Craig, Kate Winslet, Halle Berry, Drew Barrymore, Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, Patrick Dempsey, Charlize Theron and one old duffer whose name I couldn’t make out from my scrawled notes.
Oh, yeah — Reese Witherspoon.
My final google netted me some scientific in formation from The Huffington Post: ”The summer season has not even officially started yet in the U.S. and already people are cranking up the a/c, boxing away the sweaters, seeking out the best swimming hole, and plotting how to avoid sweat stains. It’s about to get a lot worse.
“A recent study conducted by Stanford University scientists has concluded that if greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase, many regions in the world will probably experience an irreversible rise in summer temperatures within the next 20 to 60 years.
“The recent Stanford study, which will be published this month in the journal Climatic Change Letters, found that middle latitude regions of Europe, China and North America (including the U.S.) will likely see extreme shifts in summer temperatures within the next 60 years.
“Last year tied with 2005 as the hottest year on record, with the average worldwide temperature 1.12 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, according to the National Climatic Data Center.”
We’re in for it folks. And I’ve just discovered that my theory that ordinary folks get hotter as they age is correct.
We have two dogs in our household. The oldest one, a white, fluffy haired chi-poodle is 14. Lucca can’t stay outside for more than three minutes this summer. His tongue hangs out, his legs tremble — he has to go back in the air conditioning.
Heidi, the red, long-haired dachshund is only 8. She sunbathes, lying on her back, spreading out her legs, hot concrete beneath her.
I go in when Lucca does.

Bettye Anding is a former editor of the Living section of The Times Picayune, for which she wrote “Silver Threads” until her retirement. Email comments to her at [email protected]