The grass should be brown. Leaves normally would be turning color on the edges of the foliage as drought and heat wilt shallow roots. We are accustomed to our Kansas City Royals baseball team being a showcase for futility. This is mid-August isn’t it, or is it? Do you feel turned around? I do. But I’m happily so, as long as the Royals keep winning. “Royals in front one to nothing, second inning,” Denny Matthews chirps as I start writing this column. The boys in blue were playing Monday night against Oakland, considered the best team in baseball this season. I don’t know how this game or this season will turn out, but what a ride. Yet are you like me? Do you hope but not yet dare to believe? When you’re used to a two-game winning streak pulling the team closer to .500 for the season, our team riding long winning streaks and nearing first place seems to be against nature. If you don’t follow Royals baseball, perhaps this summer seems normal to you, although nature is also throwing us a curve. However this is a big, fat, slow curve ball pitched over the center of the plate. One we can all swing at and hit over the luxuriant shrubbery. The National Weather Service report on Monday showed 4.52 inches of rain during August in the metro’s official gauge at the Kansas City International Airport. That’s 3.32 inches above normal. The result is green grass, lush trees, garden vegetables still producing, birds chirping merrily in our yards and butterflies lingering for an extra sip of nectar from flowers. We forget how sweet summer can be until one like this comes along. Friends stand in the produce section at the grocery store praising the weather. That’s a strange twist for a Missourian. “I had to wear long pants the other night to sit outside and listen to the ball game,” one friend said. “You don’t get cool out on the deck very often this time of year. I can’t believe it.” Neither can I. We expect streaks of 100-degrees-plus days and sultry nights in the long, slow weeks of August. Instead, the hottest day so far this month was 92 degrees on Aug. 5. The average temperature thus far in August is 76.3 degrees, which is 1.7 degrees below normal. Almost 2 degrees down doesn’t sound like too much, but in the world of weather data and the complexities of sunrises, sunsets, weather fronts and prevailing winds, the difference is significant. My skin is telling me the 72 degrees outside this evening is most pleasant. A forecast for temperatures in the 80s this week is like the luck of finding morel mushrooms in the spring. In fact, it feels a bit like May outdoors. So maybe I’ve jinxed us by writing this. The A’s just tied the Royals 2-2. We’re jumpy about sports and weather in western Missouri. Nature never created a more fickle and changing weather place than the Midwest. Our sports teams seem to get close to excellence and then slide into mediocrity. Then a new season raises hopes until the late summer results squash them. But here we are — green, cool days and nights, the Royals are among the coolest teams in baseball player wise, and among the hottest when it comes to winning. Let’s enjoy this week as if it was normal. Maybe it is the new normal. Either way, never waste a winning team or a cool summer. We might go another quarter century without tasting the same.
Bill Graham, who lives in the Platte City area with his family, may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.