It Gets Hot in Redding (Another Rejected Column)

Local legend has it that in August, 1937, Satan himself stepped off the bus at the downtown Redding terminal, turned on his heels and got right back on that northbound Dog exclaiming, “What kind of sick-o could live in this heat? I mean aside from mental defectives and parolees? Are you people nuts?”

Reddingites know a sissy when they see one. Get thee back on that bus, Beelzebub, we don’t need your kind living around here and complaining about the heat all friggin’ day.

Don’t like the weather in Redding? Then pack up and go back to Death Valley where you get those nice dusty breezes. We like it here. We’re tough.

We’re proud to live in a place where the only chickens we raise are the crispy kind. Have you ever seen an ice cream cone boil? Then you haven’t experienced Redding…in May.

Yeah, it gets hot here. What of it? We’ve adapted. We alter when we celebrate holidays for example. Memorial Day is done in February. Personally, I think Labor Day adds a little panache to an otherwise drab March. We’ve learned how to do things and made the sizzling atmosphere our friend. Sometimes we’ve learned the proverbial “hard way” on how to put on a successful community event in our seasonal heat.

Redding no longer puts on a 4th of July parade on the 4th of July. Locals call it the “Incident of ’73”. We had invited corporate spokesperson and beloved advertising icon, the Pillsbury Doughboy, to preside over the festivities as Grand Marshal of the parade. As is the custom, the parade’s Grand Marshal rides down Market Street in an open-air car. Flags were waving, old folks cheered, but the children’s laughter soon turned to screams of terror as they watched Mr. Pillsbury go from puffy, white wad of smiling, sticky dough to golden brown biscuit within the span of three blocks. We decided then and there that fireworks in November would probably be just fine.

Since the day of “The Great Baking Parade,” Redding has been boycotted by Pillsbury. Thank goodness Bisquik doesn’t have a mascot or we’d have barrels of gravy stored all over town with nothing for any of it to be used on. That’s no life at all as far as I’m concerned. Gravy needs a biscuit like a fat lady needs a bonnet fan. But, the folks at Pillsbury should have known better. Our summers are not an isolated trend and should be common knowledge to anyone who has heard the tales of The Oven on the River. Shoot, where do you think Al Gore got the whole “global warming” idea? That’s right, a stopover in Redding and the ol’ light bulb went on. Mr. Gore should share a chunk of that Nobel Prize with those of us hearty enough to call Redding home.

The extreme weather in our community does have its’ benefits. It helps maintain the delicate balance between “natives” and “Bayarians.” We have to weed out the pansies. This is no place for cry babies. If you can move here from Benicia, San Mateo or San Rafael, actually unpack and live here for one calendar year, well then, you’re OK with us. Welcome to Redding. But, should you choose to whine and whimper about the 119 degree reading on the thermostat, don’t expect to be invited to the big community cookout. That’s when we drop a dollop of butter and a little garlic onto the sidewalks and toss on the meat of choice. Minutes later, you’ve got some fine eats. Not to mention the civic pride of having “streets you can eat off.”

We live in one of the most beautiful places in the country. By and large the people are friendly. Of course, when it hits 120 in the shade even the meanest, goateed meth freak becomes as docile as Jed Clampett’s bloodhound. But, it’s our home. And I, for one, feel good about living in a place that put the devil himself on the Greyhound to Seattle. The wimp, anyway. We know a sissy when we see one.

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2 Comments on “It Gets Hot in Redding (Another Rejected Column)”

  1. Dr. Adam Baum Says:

    Pearls before swine, Philbert. Pearls before swine.

  2. Tom Shudders Says:

    I love the smell of skin blistering in the morning!


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