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Fighting heat stroke ... with a back stroke

Deborah Hall lounges on a float in her backyard pool while her grandchildren swim in the background. Hall says she loves the summer heat. She often watches TV or movies while soaking in the pool.
Deborah Hall lounges on a float in her backyard pool while her grandchildren swim in the background. Hall says she loves the summer heat. She often watches TV or movies while soaking in the pool.

When Deborah Hall lived in her native Pennsylvania, she was chilled to the bone for nine months of the year. Now, transplanted to Rock Hill, she can't get enough of the heat.

One hundred-degree temperatures? No problem. Hall just lounges in her backyard swimming pool, where she can watch television and movies from the cool waters and enjoy beverages from the tiki bar.

"We've lived in a swimming pool for the past week," said Hall, 52, a nurse at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. "I wouldn't mind it if the heat wave lasted all summer."

Her husband, Jim Hall, and their grandchildren often join her in their tropical-themed backyard, where blaring Jimmy Buffet music, palm trees and beach shells set the stage for paradise.

During Tuesday's sweltering 100-degree heat, the Halls washed and detailed all three of their vehicles, stopping as often as needed to cool off in the pool.

"Work a little and jump in the pool," she said. "When I mow the lawn, it takes me all day because I do the same thing: mow a couple strips and get in the pool."

For the second day in a row, temperatures soared to 100 degrees on Wednesday at the Rock Hill/York County Airport. The National Weather Service forecasts a regional high today of around 102 degrees in the Charlotte area, with a slight cooling on Friday, when highs are expected in the upper 90s.

Jim Hall, a contractor at Bowater, said he isn't quite as big a fan of the scorching temperatures as his wife. Still, the heat didn't keep him away from a round of golf Wednesday morning.

"She would spend her life at the beach if she could do it," he said.

Hall isn't alone. Other folks say they thrive in hot weather, too.

Such as Sylvia Dunn, 41, who lives in Lancaster. Dunn, a third-shift convenience store worker and a South Carolina native, said she can't get along without hot weather.

"I come home and lay out in the sun until 12:30 or 1 o'clock," Dunn said. "My body just thrives on it. It gives me energy. They tell me I'm crazy because I like to be in the heat."

Hall and her husband moved to Rock Hill in 1986 from Pennsylvania, where they had lost jobs. She hated the climate there. Moving south was easy.

"The summer season was so short there, and we talked about a pool, but most people in that area use a pool maybe two months out of the year," she said.

Their home is easily identified by the heat-loving cactus and palm trees that grow out front and the shell-themed decorations on the front porch. In the backyard, a decorative street sign places the home at Jimmy Buffet Drive and Margaritaville Way.

The Halls welcome neighbors and their children to their backyard retreat, which is stocked with ice cream, popsicles, lemonade and other refreshing treats. Often, the Halls and their neighbors enjoy an evening swim.

"All the neighbors swim here," said neighbor Barbara Stephenson, who was lounging by the pool Wednesday.

Hall once tried to convince her husband that they should move to an even hotter climate -- south Florida. But they didn't want to leave their grandchildren.

"During the winter here," she complained, "it still gets a little too cold for my liking."

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