Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hot and steamy

No, I'm not talking about a Harlequin romance. I'm talking about today's weather.

Worse than hot and steamy. It's actually stifling, suffocating, oppressive, unbearable. High 90s with almost as high humidity.

I got the car out of the garage this afternoon, only to go as far as the local library. When I came out of the air-conditioned library, the heat and humidity seemed even worse.

I thought back to when I was growing up. How did we ever manage without air conditioning? There was no such thing in the 1950s, at least not at our house.

Instead, we ran washcloths under cold water and patted our faces, though our mother warned us not to do that. She believed one should use a warm cloth in hot weather instead. I don't know if she was right or not, but I remember the cold washcloth feeling so good.

Then we'd take turns putting our faces in front of the little black fan that sat on the kitchen counter. This little black fan was our only cooling device. Its blades whirred and blew on us as we walked by and felt the cool blast of air.

Even Susie, our cat, who we discovered was really a male long after we named her/him, just lay on the cool basement floor, unwilling to venture further, especially not outdoors.

(Right) All of us with our aunt and two cousins on a warm summer day.

We also made "popsicles" of sorts. Kool-Aid poured into ice cube trays with a toothpick worked slick.

Sometimes we'd all go to Lake McCarron's beach where we'd spread out a blanket, don our bathing suits, and run into that large body of water. Aaah, that was pure pleasure.

When it was still hot in the evenings after dinner, Dad would take us all out for a drive in the station wagon. We'd roll down all the windows and stick our heads out, feeling the wind. No car seats or seat belts got in our way.

On a rare occasion, we'd stop for a nickel Dairy Queen ice cream cone. What a treat. The ultimate reward for a hot day.

Later, when we went to bed, we'd turn every which way to try to get cool. Laying at the foot of the bed, across the bed, or however we could get some relief. We'd eventually drift off.

Now we suffer little, working in air-conditioned buildings, having central air at home, in the car, on the bus, and everywhere you go. You can easily escape the misery.

Still, we complain. Hot and steamy.