Friday, August 13, 2010

Excess heat and the grim reaper

It's too hot to mow the lawn, and while I don't mean to start sounding shrill about this, that means it's just too darned hot. Besides I look forward to mowing the lawn and the illusion it fosters of creating order amid chaos. It can also be a darned good form of walking/riding meditation --- providing you pay close enough attention to avoid running into a tree or falling off.

We're also due for more severe thunderstorms today and tonight. I'm tired of looking at weather radar --- including in the middle of the night when I fire up the computer to see if it's going to last and I need to launch lifeboats, even up here on the hilltop.

Foolishly, I watered planters at a couple of locations an hour ago --- a surefire invitation to the rain that now is falling.

But at least there's central air, for many of us at least. Remember the good old days when there wasn't any? I think about the summer my parents first decided some form of air conditioning was required. It was equally hot, but the rest of the problem involved drought rather than excess moisture. So a big unit was installed in the front window of the living room,. It made so much noise living there became impractical. Fortunately, it had power enough to cool the remoter areas of the first floor that we retired to.

That didn't solve the upstairs problem, but open windows and doors on all four sides of the house as well as open doors inside made that part of the house bearable at night. I can't remember the last time I've had a window open here.

Spared floods and tornados, our weather-related difficulties are kind of modest I guess. My paternal grandmother used to talk about the time as a teen-ager she sat up with others into a hot August evening with the remains of a deceased relative or neighbor, and I've forgotten which --- but think it was a friend about her own age.

This would have been some time after 1901, when shortly after her mother's death Grandmother was shipped to Lucas County to live with an aunt because an all-male household in the wild West was considered no place for a young female to be. This was before Great-grandfather Cash acquired his second wife, not much older than his only daughter, a match that as it turned out was not made in heaven.

Anyhow, the remains (awaiting the arrival of the undertaker) were laid out on planks across sawhorses surrounded by chucks of ice from the icehouse and covered with a damp sheet weighted with bricks. A stiff breeze sprang up and as it blew in through open windows and doors, Grandma said, threatened to disarrange the sheet, something those keeping watch viewed with horrified fascination.

At least that's a problem few of us have in this day and age.


Ed said...

We getting pounded right now. I'm tired of rain. I mowed the front third of my lawn last night and decided to call it good. Funny how heat influences decision making like that.

Pamela said...

Great stories!