Summers in Arizona are hotter than...

I can hear the skin on the back of my thighs sizzle as they fry on the vinyl seat of my car.

Ah, summer in Phoenix, Arizona, 1982 - The Valley of the Sun, just a stone’s throw from the very pits of…well, nevermind.

Note to self: Do not wear shorts in the summer no matter how hot it gets.

Moving to Arizona seemed like a wonderful idea back in February. Waving goodbye to friends, family and snowstorms, we hit the highway in our little red Pinto Pony. We pulled a homemade trailer behind us loaded down with our stuff. The hand-carved rocking chair my husband had made out of wood pallets rescued from a chicken plant was strapped to the top of the pile just like the Beverly Hillbillies. His old canoe rode upside down on the hood of the Ford Pinto, sticking out beyond both front and back fenders. As a final gesture of red-neck determination, Lee had painted “Arizona or Bust” on the plywood sides of the trailer in drippy red paint.

Four days, 2000 miles and more than a few weird looks later, we found ourselves climbing out of the Verde Valley – or should I say crawling out of the Verde Valley. The road just kept going up and up and the Pinto just kept going slower and slower until it was nearly at a stand-still. My foot cramped and my leg ached from holding the gas pedal to the floor, as if pushing harder would make a difference. I had visions of the car stopping altogether and then careening down the mountain backward. Finally, we top the crest of the mountain, my heart started beating again and it was all downhill from there. We dropped into the Valley amid mountains, cactus and temps in the 70's...in February!

Summer comes early in Arizona. Soon the temps climbed above 100 and we learned many things through our first summer here.


  • An air conditioned car is a necessity, not a luxury – goodbye Pinto
  • Cold water does not flow from the cold water spigot in the summer in Arizona
  • Burritos are something you eat, not something you ride
  • Rivers seldom contain water
  • One does not go barefoot in the summer, the grass is so dry, it will slice your feet to bits and the sidewalk will give you third degree burns
  • That pool you thought would be so refreshing is like warm bathwater
  • Ice cream cones must be licked at break-neck speed or become a puddle in your hands
  • An hour of sun bathing leaves you extra crispy, not tanned
  • A lot of people go nude in the house to stay cool
  • A lot of people don't close their blinds
  • Oven mitts make great driving gloves
  • Any Christian who lives in Arizona in the summer is motivated to serve God out of love, not out of the fear of going to…well, nevermind.


(Copyright © 2009 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

oh how that makes me homesick! Missy

Jan said...

You want to get really homesick? Watch This