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For the coolest time at the beach, follow an afternoon thundershower

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sunsetsiestabeachInstead of whining about the weather, which I do all the time, let me suggest one way you might beat the heat.
No, it’s not skating at the Ellenton Ice Rink, though I’ve written that column before.
And it’s not cooling off at Lithia Springs, north of Bradenton, though I’ve done that, too.
What I’m talking about here is heading to the beach just after one of our afternoon thunderstorms. If you time it right, just before sunset, the colors in the sky are thrilling and the sea breeze is downright chilly.
Wading into the Gulf of Mexico feels great when the water is warmer than the air. Usually, it’s the other way around.
Kim Collister, president of Manasota Track Club, knows what I’m talking about. Sometimes Tuesday Beach Runs have to be cancelled, because of thunder and lightning, but then half an hour later, Siesta Key couldn’t be more beautiful.
“After the rain, it’s a good time for a run,” Collister says. “You can feel it. You can feel that cool air after it storms.”

Storm-chasing
Last week, my wife and I were headed toward Bradenton Beach when we ran into a storm.
In fact, while we waited for a bridge to open and close, a line of wind and rain swept right over us. Beautiful. When we got to the shore, everything felt fresh and new. There was even a rainbow arched behind the Australian pines.
Sunsets are far more beautiful when there are cloud formations to paint the sky. Instead of just a orange ball sinking into the sea, there are all kinds of shapes and shades of pink, gold and gray.
What I’m trying to say here is that sometimes dark clouds aren’t just a warning sign. They’re an opportunity, too, to cool off and gear down with an evening at the beach.

ernstballErnst farewell
Some late news here.
My buddy Eric Ernst, a Herald-Tribune editor and columnist for more than a quarter-century, retired last month.
I was on vacation at the time, so I missed his going-away party, but I was given the assignment of buying him a farewell gift.
We talked it over, met for lunch and then stopped at a sporting goods store to pick out a new basketball. Classic Ernst.
He still has a nice three-point shot. He still plays in a 50-and-older league. He still passes the ball, gets back on defense and blocks out for rebounds. Ernst was a good teammate at the newspaper, too.
He knew Englewood and North Port better than anyone at the paper. He knew writing and editing. He knew how to connect with readers.
He will be missed.

Last modified: July 11, 2014
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