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Repurposing Parked Cars in Summer to Stay CoolBy Steve Bishop
In a concerted effort to prepare our new Church History professor for the rigors of summer in Austin our esteemed leader Dean and President Kittredge inaugurated this effort by providing a list of suggestions to keep cool in the summer. As our new professor moves from the moderate climes of the San Francisco Bay area and into the rattlesnake, cactus infested environs of Austin where air conditioning is a basic human right, we thought we would all pitch in with advice that helps us get through the heat of summer (May to October).
In particular, Dr. Kittredge offered this advice about cars: Never leave anything in your parked car: sunglasses, laptops, cell phones, boxes of chocolate, pets. Between May and October, no sleeping in your car.
This is all true. A metal box does not protect you from the heat, regardless of its color. However, what she failed to mention are the benefits of your outdoor oven, or as you may call it, your car.
For native Texans, like myself, the clothesline was a staple of every home. No one had or needed a clothes dryer. Simply string a wire between two trees and hang your linens there. They dry in about ten minutes and they smell good. But now it seems everyone has a dryer, which is a waste of electricity. The first thing you should do is string some wires throughout your car to hang you wet laundry on. I suggest washing in the morning, drive to the seminary, hang your clothes in your car and when you leave for the day everything will be summery fresh.
This second piece of advice will make you a hero at home. Why should your wife have to heat up the house using the oven when you can cook most meals in your car while you are at work? My favorite is what I call Easy-Auto-Lasagna. Buy one of those deep-dish aluminum pans with an aluminum lid. Layer uncooked lasagna noodles, meat, cheese (of your choice), and cover. Then place it on the dashboard of your car in the morning and when you arrive home at the end of the day you can serve your family a savory dish of auto food. Oh, and lest I forget, the glove box makes a great bread oven. Undoubtedly some people will tell you to go to Texas French Bread on 29th street when the truth is that with a little ingenuity you can bake something that your family will truly, never ever forget.
I hope that these suggestions will allow you to see your heated auto not as an enemy to be defeated but as an ally to a better, cooler life.
Dr. Steve Bishop is the Associate Professor of Old Testament at Seminary of the Southwest. Steve served as an ordained minister in the Church of Christ prior to undertaking graduate studies. Steve’s academic interests include the poetry of the Hebrew Bible and literary translations of it into English.
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