Opinion

Hodge: Take the time to enjoy a local summer

OK, first one to complain about the heat gets a one-way ticket to Timmins, Ontario.

Okanagan residents are likely among the most pampered and spoiled branch of the human population. I’m allowed to cast such disparaging remarks based on my life-long experience.

My ability to whine and pout about the weather, local politics, parking, what’s wrong with downtown, why we hate Kamloops and a host of other Okanaganisms is based on the fact that I was born and raised in the valley. As such, it is my inherent residential right to froth, vibrate and fume.

However, I prefer to be happy with our current heat wave.  It certainly outshines the unpredictable, wet, lousy weather we have dealt with the past couple of months.

Still, there are some significant concerns with the current heat wave and so a little caution and common sense is in order.

First off, give up trying to salvage the entire garden crop from heat exhaustion. Saving every plant may well be your demise.

Kelowna General Hospital and walk-in clinic facilities are operating at full steam so far this month dealing with heat related health issues and its impacts on elderly and those with compromised pulmonary systems.

The addition of smoke from forest fires and heat exhaustion can be quiet killers as well.

So please, make a habit of staying well hydrated (this means water not beer), wearing a hat at all times, seek shade whenever possible, or best yet, take a siesta inside during the heat of mid-day.

•••

Over the past few years, Teresa and I have rediscovered and enjoyed experiencing another popular Okanagan habit— the ‘staycation’ or playing the tourist in your own town.

While part of our motivation has admittedly been due to finances, we also simply love hiding and relaxing in our own backyard. Regardless, I have long pondered why anyone living in Kelowna, or elsewhere in the valley, would choose to leave here in the summer.

Thousands of people travel great distances and spend huge dollars to visit Kelowna in the summer and since there are few warmer, prettier, more enjoyable places in Canada to visit in the summer it makes little sense to leave.

I comprehend the desire to visit somewhere else in the heart of winter but not during beach season.

Among our potential destinations around the valley the next month or two are day trips to Summerland Sweets and the Summerland Experimental Farm, the beautiful beaches around Lake Okanagan and Kalamalka Lake (including Fintry Park and Okanagan Centre), a camping trip or two perhaps near Woods Lake, and an overnight camping adventure in our backyard with our four-year old granddaughter. Way too much fun!

If you have any local favourite places to relax, dine, have a picnic or play tourists please email me with them and I will gladly share them with readers in a future column.

•••

Mid-July boasts a hot-bed of birthdays it seems. July 16 birthday wishes go out to step-daughter Lisa Derksen and friends Alanna Tulman and Trudy Jane Janicki.

Other birthdays in the past week or so include Curtis Tulman, Marlene and Greg Nickel-Lang, great granddaughter Arya and as of just three days ago great-grandson Stanley Roy Fagan.

And a special happy anniversary yesterday (July 17) to my sweetheart Teresa.

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