Every winter we come to a point where we just wish for summer, even during the relatively mild winter of 2011-2012.
Not many of us wished for this summer, with record high heat and record low rain, especially not the dairy farmers for whom I work. Say a prayer for them and all farmers, and in fact, all who depend in some measure on the weather to survive.
My mom often talked about her teenage summers in the 1930s, which she spent in Altoona, Iowa, working in a canning plant in nearby Grimes, paying the farmers who brought in their corn. They flirted with her. At night, the family often slept on the grass in the front yard of the home, hoping to catch some hint of cool air that mostly never came. That was their reality.
My grandmother talked about those same days – how her husband and others in the community took turns sitting on top of the small town’s bank, armed with shotguns, looking out for bank robbers such as Bonnie and Clyde and Wilber Underhill. It was hot.
Even John Dillinger went to the Biograph Theater the night he was killed to find cooling – by refrigeration.
I remember how quiet and still my boyhood home was during hot weekend afternoons. We kept the drapes closed to allow the window units work at their best. I can still see the Emerson QuietKool air conditioner in my bedroom.
Generations before us just toughed it out. We shouldn’t feel bad for keeping our cool when we can. Had our grandparents had access to air conditioning, they would have opted to enjoy it.
And let’s enjoy next winter a little more.