Alvin Barnett

Alvin Barnett is a history teacher at Childersburg High School.

The dog days of summer are bearing down on the Deep South with unrelenting fury. From July 15 until the end of August is my least favorite time of year. The haze in the sky and the heat are only interrupted by the occasional thunderstorm that often brings violent lightning to our area. 

I hate lightning as much as I hate the heat. I am TERRIFIED by lightning. 

I have spent the summer working in my parent’s garden along with working my part-time job at Farmlinks Golf Course. Both jobs require me to be outside most of the day. Don’t get wrong, I love being outside but not when it is 95 degrees. My mind often wanders to those winter days when I have a roasting fire in the fireplace at my home. A few days ago I reached my breaking point.

It was a Wednesday morning and I headed down to my parents’ to change a lawnmower tire. It was early and I had on clothes where I could leave from their house and go to school to work in my classroom. I was only outside at 8 a.m. for about 30 minutes changing the tire. After the job was done, not one stitch of my clothing was dry. Traditionally I am not a heavy sweater, but this task in the heat turned me into a drenched mess. I had to go home and shower before I could go to school to work in my room. 

That night I started my research. My wife saw me on my computer and thought that it was

very odd. In the summer when I am not in school I never get on the computer. She asked what I was doing. I was deep in research trying to find a rental cabin in the great state of Maine. I told her as soon as I retire, I am going to spend the entire month of August in Maine each year. She works from home and all she needs is a computer so she can be very mobile. I told her she can go with me or stay at home but I am going with or without her.

I have never been to Maine, but it is going to be my future home for August in the not-so-distant

future. I found some small cabins on the coast that were surprisingly within my price range. My

imagination took off like a runaway train as I looked at the lovely cabins. I will throw my bicycle on my truck and find every trail near our cabin and ride in the cool air each day. I will interact with the locals and become a part of the Maine culture. 

I began to research the local economies along the coast. I could get a part-time job cleaning fish at one of the fishing outposts that carry tourists out for a day of fishing. I can clean a catfish so I feel sure I can clean whatever kind of fish is caught along the coast of Maine. 

I will find the nearest tennis courts and find people to play tennis. People will want to talk to me

all day so they can listen to my heavy Southern drawl. I will find the best local watering hole and go eat clam chowder each day. 

I will be such a regular at my favorite restaurant that when I walk in the crowd will yell “Al!” kind of like when Norm would walk into Cheers on the great ’80s sit-com. 

Since I have never ridden a train, I will take the train down to Boston to watch the Red Sox play a series.

I am 54 years old and my birthday is Aug. 8. If all works out well, I am planning on celebrating my 57th birthday sitting in a chair gazing out across the Atlantic Ocean. 

The big question is whether Jennifer Barnett will be going with me on this great excursion. If she does not go, I hope she remembers to feed our cat. 

I hope everyone has a great week and stays cool in this brutal heat.

Alvin Barnett is a history teacher at Childersburg High School.