Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tops on My Gratitude List - AC

Think about all the things we take for granted today. I often thank God for air conditioning. If I knew the name of the person who invented AC, I'd also thank him.
Some have never lived without cool homes in summer, but I remember well when I was a child in the deep south on the farm. We had no AC and my room sweltered with the heat from the hot sun that beat down all day. I couldn't sleep. I sat on the foot of my bed,  my head on my arms in the open. window.
Not a breath of wind could I feel. No breeze moved the leaves on the big oak tree that sheltered our house. Memories of that time are as real as the humidity that wet my hair and the sweat that crawled down my sides under my pajama shirt. I was not born for the tropics.
That is why this past weekend  hit me like a blast from the past. My central air conditioning quit on Saturday around noon while I cooked fresh vegetables I'd picked up at the local produce stand. The heat from the stove turned my small kitchen into a sauna.

I checked the thermostat. Blank spaces greeted me. Nothing there at all. The silent unit squatted outside my window, stubbornly refusing to react to the Reset button. Push the red button - that was all I knew to do.
Rocky and I retreated to the basement. He panted like he had been on a long run. The floor was too hard for his old bones,  he didn't like the rug. I had to bring his bed down before he would be happy. The small window AC accompanied by a large fan kept me from taking my dog and heading for a motel. I was prepared to sleep downstairs, but a nice little storm that night cooled my bedroom enough for us to sleep in our own beds. 
I don't know how my parents lived in the heat of south Georgia half their lifetime without relief. I don't know how people worked on the farms all summer long with burning sun beating down on their bodies, with gnats and sweat in their eyes and on their faces. I don't know what I would have done if I had been a boy in my family. They endured the heat and worked all day long in the fields.
Daddy and Mother handled the heat of summer for years before getting air conditioning in our home in south Georgia.  

My mother didn't have it much better than the men. She cooked three large meals every day in a hot kitchen. On my Gratitude List - right up near the top - just behind my loved ones - is air conditioning.
I begged my heating and cooling company to come on Monday. They did. I think they realized I just couldn't take it any more. I'll put Dorman's on my Gratitude List now - right up behind AC.


Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I don't know how we lived without a/c but we did and I remember it well. I went through 17 years of school when there wasn't any a/c. South Arkansas is one of the hottest places in the world and, like Georgia, no breeze either. As a child I swore when I grew up I was going to get out of there and I did.

Some times I hear people say they don't like air conditioning and I think to myself, they must not have grown up in the south.

Nice to see Rocky's face.

Glenda Beall said...

I agree, Sam, they must not have grown up in the south.
I hope that as long as I live, I'll have air conditioning in my house and my car. For those who want to go back to the old ways, I don't want to go back before we had air conditioning. And they say our summers will continue to get hotter!
I remember that smell of hot sweaty children when I was little and the classrooms had no cooling system. Our senses such as smell can immediately take us somewhere in our past. Isn't that fantastic?

Anonymous said...

A similar incident happened to me last winter with the furnace. I woke up one morning at three a.m., and the house was freezing. I got out of bed and stared in shock at the blank thermostat. It was twelve below outside. Fortunately, our power company had an emergency number. I called, and after about half an hour pacing the floor and another half hour huddled under a blanket, trying to lose myself in a magazine, the technician arrived. After he replaced the batteries in the thermostat, the furnace came to life. I don't know which is worse, not having air conditioning or not having heat, but I'm glad you got your air conditioner fixed.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome