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The air is cool inside Ray Knight's makeshift coffee shop on the main strip in this tiny northern Oklahoma farming community, but there aren't many customers. With temperatures topping degrees, the elderly farmers and retirees who Knight says like to gather and "swap lies" are nowhere to be seen. They're also probably not at their doctor's appointments, shopping at the store or at their club meetings.
Many are afraid to go outside. The heat wave scorching the Great Plains has turned many rural communities into virtual ghost towns for the last month, and also heightened a sense of isolation among the elderly residents who make up much of their population these days. The relentless stretch of degree days, which began unusually early this year and could run for weeks longer, is making their way of life difficult and even dangerous, thwarting their routines for getting the supplies and health care they need.
He usually drives to the county seat in Guthrie, about 15 miles away, for errands but now can't go out after noon. She has cancelled her doctor's appointments. It's been over for more than Cashion OK wife swapping days in a row in many parts of Oklahoma. In the town of Altus, the average high in June — when the weather is normally mild — was In the many dozens of rural communities like Mulhall, where there are no longer any stores or other services, the elderly must drive other places for almost everything, and that has become daunting this summer.
They don't have the energy. In remote towns, the elderly residents try to look out for each other. But it isn't easy when those who live out in the country are afraid to drive to town.
Many live alone. James Tucker, pastor of Mulhall's First Baptist Church, says he's trying to keep track of who's coming to services and who's not. But Jo Swinney, an outreach specialist for the Logan County group, worries some elderly folks could easily slip through the cracks.
The oppressive heat already has been blamed on nine deaths in Oklahoma, including a man in Oklahoma City who was discovered inside his home with no electricity or running water; it's suspected as the cause of seven others, said Cherokee Ballard, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner's office. Mulhall, like many small towns in farm country, has steadily lost population, mostly younger people who moved to the city for work. The Cashion OK wife swapping had residents as recently as The percentage of elderly is clearly higher than it was only a decade ago.
Some rural counties lost more than 10 percent of their population in the last decade alone. The only businesses left here are Knight's steel shop and the beer t along the main strip. A tornado battered the town inand the only restaurant burned down last year.
The closest grocery store and pharmacy are 15 miles away. The hospitals and medical specialists are in Oklahoma City, an hour to the south. Seventy-year-old Wanda Pangburn spends most of the day inside her air conditioned home. If she does need to travel to Perry or Guthrie for groceries, she's sure to take her 9-year-old granddaughter with her in case she's overcome by the heat. Ray, whose coffee shop is set up in the air conditioned lobby of his steel fabrication shop, wonders about some of the regulars he normally sees during the day. Hasley said she's hoping for a break in the heat soon so she can make a run for supplies.
Until then, "I just stay in where it's cool. IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser. Politics U. Share this —. Follow NBC News.Cashion OK wife swapping
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