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No offense, but you’re sweating like a pig. That’s okay, we all are. As of this writing, 2010 has brought the DC area twenty days of 95 plus degree weather. This strong, intimidating heat bullies the sweat out of us and laughs in the face of antiperspirant. As a matter of fact, last Tuesday I caught the heat taunting a shipment of antiperspirant outside CVS -- it was dulling Axe, demoting Right Guard, banning Ban, clipping the wings off Dove, and getting Secret to spill its guts. And that’s why I’ve poetically dubbed this season, “The Summer of Pit Stains.” ©

Not even local celebrities can avoid the pitfalls of sweat. Last month my husband and I went to an outdoor concert at Lansdowne. The evening’s entertainment was provided by a band led by radio host Jack Diamond. By the end of the first set, sweat turned Jack’s sky-blue shirt to navy. His performance was a Mix (pun intended) of music and danger: every time perspiration dripped onto his guitar he risked electrocution. Luckily his playlist had short songs, allowing time to towel-off. Stairway to Heaven would have been a death sentence.

Two weeks ago, far less talented, but equally sweaty, musicians performed at a reunion of my high school jazz band. My twin sister and I had gathered members of bands led by our beloved music director, Red (“Uncle Red”) Reynolds: specifically, graduating classes of 1976 through 1981. Note: at that time our instruments were made of dinosaur bones.

My kind, generous, and crazy sister originally offered to host the event at her home. Then I reminded her of events these people were involved in that featured icemakers, shopping carts, and park rangers. The only time a venue was changed quicker was when Bob Ryan predicted rain on my son’s ninth birthday party picnic. We decided on a nearby bar ... for the reunion, not my son’s birthday, although in retrospect more parents would have stuck around to help if I thought of that.

My sister found a great place on the water. The manager turned out to be a former classmate who knew some of the band members. Even so, he welcomed our group and reserved a back area to accommodate all of us. The day of the event was not unlike every other day this summer: blistering. I walked into the reunion room and quickly realized it wasn’t air-conditioned. A floor fan and opened windows brought the temperature to a cool 140 degrees. I’ve never been in a sauna that served draft. My beer didn’t have a head -- it was boiling.

Regardless, high spirits (in and out of a glass) overcame the discomfort. Many attendees gamely dusted off their old musical instruments. Because I had returned my rented tenor saxophone 30 years ago, I was relegated to a borrowed tambourine. Thankfully, I had paid close attention to my tambourine instructor, Davey Jones. I don’t want to brag, but I held the band together that night.

During a break, I checked myself in the restroom mirror. I shrieked when I saw the havoc 90 plus heat and a seemingly endless version of Mustang Sally had wreaked. Damp hair clung to my head and mascara ran down my cheeks. Upside: I was prepared if the band switched to Goth rock. Fortunately, we were all able to see past the sweat and into the eyes of old friends ... thanks to a roll of paper towels that came with the six foot sub someone ordered.

A week later, my sister posted a skillfully assembled collage of reunion photos on Facebook. Oh, there’s Stephanie, glistening as she greets Bob ... and Sal, glowing as he played keyboard ... and John, his sweat creating Rorschach test on his shirt – hey, that looks like a butterfly! In five months, when I’m tempted to gripe about the cold, I’m going to page through those photos and remind myself: don’t sweat it.


Dear Jean,
    Great column! As a former member of the “Wind Machine” and proud “sweaty” Reunion participant. . .I can say you put Davey Jones to shame that night . . . Pit Stains and All . . . ;^)
Maybe we can all meet up in Quebec next reunion?! (Ha!)

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