“But it’s a dry heat!” Let’s get this one out-of-the-way before we even begin to look at the whole temperature issues we face in the desert come June, July and August. Yes it’s hot; okay? We all agree?
For those of you visiting Arizona for the first time, here’s a shopping tip; stop by a Walgreen and get your “Dry Heat” t-shirts complete with bones and buzzards. They can be had for something like three for $10 or $12; you know if you wait to get them at the airport gift shops you’ll be forking over that kind of money for one of them. Once you’re past the novelty of wearing it a time or two, it sits in a drawer until you give it to a thrift store to sell for a quarter. A quick note to those very frugal (cheap), if you go to the thrift store to buy a used Dry Heat t-shirt as a gift for a grand child or even one of your own, it is tacky to get one worn by someone else and has those ugly arm pit stains.
I digress; what is so inherently cool (and refreshing) is contained in the old black and white photo above. For as long as Sun City has been up and running, solving and beating the torrid summer heats hasn’t changed much. Air conditioning was offered in the initial series of model homes for a mere $650 and the first recreation center was open and available for those needing to take the plunge.
We know it today as Oakmont rec center, but in those early years it was called Community Center. Personally i prefer the original name, in that it sounded like a place the new residents could hang out; and Lordy, did they. The back patio overlooking the ninth hole of the North golf course was just the kind of setting that made visitors drool and long to move here; and the pool was to die for.
Today we have six functioning rec centers and a brand new one that will open in the next month or two. Each has at least one pool and whirlpools are at most of the centers as well. Amazing to think an outdoor whirlpool with temperatures set at hundred 104 degrees can feel as good as they do when the surface temperatures are even higher…sometimes by as much as ten to fifteen degrees.
The indoor pool at Sundial always gets lots of action. When it opened in 1972 it was one of the largest pools in the country. When they remodeled the Bell Rec Center a few years back, they added a serpentine walking pool that is almost always full with those excercising their limbs or in some cases working on improving their communication skills (stay to the right please). The new Fairway Center will be magnificent. The two phases cost a total of $18,200,000.00 and the best part of it will be there is no debt. An open air pool with a second story walking track around it will provide those living in Phase 1 with a much-needed upgrade.
Let’s just conclude with this simple summary: My wife and i spent 55 years in the frozen tundra of Minnesota. We averaged about three months of blue sky’s and warm sunshine (i’m being generous) a year. Gray was the order of the day and layers of clothes was just how one lived. When we moved to the valley of the sun, life changed. Our wardrobe got smaller because t-shirts, shorts and sandals were really all we needed (except for the occasional wake/funeral). In my opinion, just a way better way to live.
True story: We were here visiting in our house in May of 2002. Just prior to leaving on a Saturday afternoon we took our no speed Schwinn’s out for a quick spin. It was 105 degrees out, but we rode without as much of a drop of perspiration forming on us. We got back to Minnesota and walking to our car in the parking garage it was a balmy 85 degrees. Unfortunately the humidity levels were around 100 and by the time we loaded the luggage in the car we were soaking wet.
Yup, it’s hot here…112 just the other day. But i’ve got to tell you, i would take that in New York minute over the nasty humidity, freezing cold and dreary gray days that cover the state so often. Just a better way to live out here. I’m off to the pool. Nice.