Friday, July 14, 2023

Hot Georgia Summers and Childhood Memories

Oh, how thankful I am for air conditioning! It's such a blessing on these hot Georgia days. I don't know how we ever lived without it, but it wasn't too long ago that we did. 

As a child, we didn't have air conditioning. We grew up in a two story cinder block house on a large wooded lot with beautiful Oak and Pine trees. Thinking back now, I'm so thankful for all those trees! Their lovely, leaf laden limbs helped cut down on some of the sweltering heat that bathed our house each summer. The only way we had to cool down was to run around half naked, play in water from the garden hose, flip on our attic fan, or open every window wide. Usually, we did a combination of all those things but there were some days nothing seemed to work. 

I remember marveling at the hard, dry, cracked red mud from lack of rain and seeing the steamy haze of heat rising from it. We could barely wait for evening to come so things would cool off a little. As soon as cicadas started to sing, we knew it wouldn't be long before we'd get a little relief. 

I was so thankful our old house had real tile floors in the kitchen and the living room. That tile was so cool to our bare feet in the summertime, although I hated the way the floor always felt dirty and gritty no matter how many times Mama swept it. We were always tracking in dirt with our little feet. 

The attic fan didn't do much for us during the day other than move around the hot air. In the evenings, after dark, with our open bedroom windows, the fan would often draw in a little breeze that would gently flow across our bodies as we lay on top of our covers trying to get cool. 

One particularly hot summer, none of us could get comfortable. We fussed and whined and complained until Mama told us to go get our pillows. We thought she was going to let us sleep downstairs so we ran to get them, but she had something else in mind. 

I remember standing in front of her in my little white undershirt vest and my panties, the coolest thing I could wear without going completely nude. She took a large spray bottle and began squirting my pillow. When she got one side sprayed, she told me to flip it over. I did and she sprayed away. I had no idea what she was planning, but I was obedient. She did the same for my siblings. Then, she told us to take our pillows and put them in the deep freezer which was in our garage. So we did. 

I don't remember what we did for the next thirty minutes or so, but we waited. When enough time had passed, Mama got our pillows out of the freezer and handed them to each of us telling us to go on back to bed. 

Carrying that chilled pillow up the thirteen stairs to the second floor of our house, was a blessing! I could feel the coolness against my little chest and it felt amazing. 

When I reached the landing at the top of the stairs, I turned right and headed to my bed. Laying the pillow on my bed, I crawled up on the mattress, lay down, and fell asleep. 

Mama was pretty ingenious! Who would have thought to do something like that? 

Now, we buy cooling gel pillows! I have two in my room right now. If Mama'd had the resources, I'm sure she could have invented those and become rich!

Last night, as we were closing the garage door I heard the low, rhythmic hum of cicadas start up in the cluster of trees across the driveway. It made my heart smile. 

Cicada

I'll never forget my hot childhood summers and I have no idea how we survived without air, but we did. Thankfully, I don't have to worry about that now unless we have power outages or something. I don't think I could make it. I've become less tolerant of the heat now that I'm older.

Thank God for the person who invented air conditioning. He's spoiled us mighty good. 

Disrespect is not nice!

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