Geoff Folsom

Geoff Folsom

After more than a year of relative calm, large community events in Union have roared back in the past few weeks.

Some walked away with prizes from the fair. At Founders Day, kids got balloon animals.

As for me, I walked away with an oddly shaved chest and a large bill as a result of problems dealing with the high temperatures.

First was the Memorial Day parade, then came Founders Day June 5. And the Franklin County Fair took place the following weekend.

None of the events were held in 2020 — at least not in their full form — so it was nice to finally experience them after hearing so much about them since I moved here in February 2020.

Unfortunately, insufferable heat also was back.

I was out for several hours at Founders Day and able to deal with the heat by buying a bottle of water early on and refilling it. Fortunately, many of the events were in the pavilion, including the bands. So I spent much of the time in the shade.

The fair was a different story. The first day, Thursday, June 10, had a high temperature of 92 degrees and an average of 66 percent humidity. I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much.

I covered the 4-H queen competition, which was nice because it was in a shaded tent.

Then something hit me while I was taking photos of the pig scramble. There was a strong smell, which made it tough to breathe.

Foolishly, I didn’t bring water. In the past, I’ve always been able to get by without drinking water. But I don’t know if it’s getting older, larger or having the double whammy of pneumonia and COVID-19 over the winter, but I can’t handle the heat like I used to.

I remember going by the fairgrounds many times in the past year, wondering how they fit a fair into what seemed like a small area, But once the fair was set up, the area looked much larger.

The fairgrounds seemed especially large as I limped back to my car. I stopped at Burger King and got a drink and started to feel better.

I came back Friday evening better prepared and with my refillable bottle of water. The main event was the demolition derby. It was so packed they added bleachers, and others sat on the berm that goes up to City Lake.

(As an aside, I think that berm would be a great place for the city to put on its concert or movies in the park. It provides an amphitheater where hundreds of people can sit. Unless it’s raining, I don’t really understand having concerts in the large pavilion since it’s almost like being indoors except it’s still hot.)

I didn’t want to give up my spot for taking photos, so that meant standing almost an hour while waiting for the events to start.

While there, I got to meet Randy Lewis, a California man who has visited more than 2,700 auto racing tracks. I identified with him because I try to visit as many baseball parks as I can. But I have not been nearly as successful, having been to all Major League Baseball parks but only a handful of minor league and college baseball stadiums.

Randy wanted to take a picture of me for his website. To look presentable, I wiped a small river of sweat off my brow.

Overall, I thought I felt better as I left the fairgrounds than I did Thursday. But I started getting lightheaded as I drove home, so much that I had to pull off the road and rest on the shoulder for a few minutes.

Thankfully, photo editor Julia Hansen covered some of the fair events Saturday and Sunday, so I didn’t have to spend too much time there.

But I decided to get checked out. They found my blood pressure is really high, so they gave me medicine and sent me to St. Luke’s for a stress test Friday, June 18.

The good news is the medicine worked. My blood pressure dropped 50 points in the two days between appointments.

The bad news is I had to get on a treadmill with a bunch of sensors stuck to my chest. That meant the technician had to shave parts of my chest, so it ended up looking like a forest that had been hit by acid rain.

I’d taken a similar test six years ago, but I remember that being much easier. This time, they not only kept increasing the treadmill speed, they increased the incline. As I’ve written before, I can walk on flat ground all day (at least if it’s not too hot) but I hate walking up hills.

After four minutes, 47 seconds, I’d had enough. The technician told me I was breathing hard and asked if that’s why I quit (I’m not sure why she was shaming me since I’d more than achieved the target heart rate).

I told her that I quit because I was afraid the treadmill was going to send me through the back wall!

She told me the doctors will tell me that my problem is I’m out of shape, which I had a pretty good sense of. Sounds like $800 well spent!

So everyone be careful in the heat if you don’t want to end up having to take a bunch of tests. Try to go outside early in the morning or just before dark, and, most importantly, drink lots of water!