Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Hot Time In the Old House Today

Excuse me while I wipe my brow with an old red bandana pulled from the back pocket of my overalls, and wring out the sweat in order to wipe the other brow. Oh. Wait. That was my grandpa, after a scorching August day of working in the cool underground lead mines until 3:00, then weeding the upper garden, hoeing a hill of potatoes, twisting some fat red tomatoes off the vine, then plucking some roastin' ears from the lower garden garden for supper, as Grandma turned the chicken pieces frying in the cast-iron skillet of Crisco, and sizzled bacon for grease to pour over the greens she dug out of the yard, so she and Grandpa could have a sit-down meal together before she hustled off to her night job as an aide at State Hospital Number Four.

What I meant to say was...I am just now recovering from the heat stroke I suffered silently at my mom's house for Easter dinner. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE my mom. She's a selfless lady, sometimes even slipping me five dollars here and there, who never complains, and would do anything for her children and grandchildren.

I, however, take after my father. I cannot change my spots. I am never happy, unless it's while I'm in the midst of ranting about some real or imagined slight or stroke of misfortune. That's my nature. I apologize half-heartedly to all the Pollyannas who would wish to be my Professor Henry Higgins and turn me into a cockeyed optimist. Not gonna happen. I bear the instigators of my misery no ill will. It's me. Not them. That said, let's get on with our story...

What a beautiful day we had here in our secret, secluded section of Missouri. The sun shone brightly, grass was at its greenest, a few puffy clouds in the sky, and a temperature of 81 degrees. Perfect, right? Perfect for hunting Easter eggs outside, if one so desired. Perfect for travel, like Genius back to college. Not perfect for eating the main meal in the house that baked the ham and turkey with no air conditioning to cool the kitchen eating area.

Oh, there was nothing WRONG with the air conditioning. Mom just doesn't like to turn it on before August. It's a game with her every year. "It doesn't really get that hot. I don't notice the heat. I'm comfortable downstairs." Uh huh. Except we were not downstairs. We were in the kitchen. I couldn't stand the heat, yet I couldn't get out of the kitchen. Are you crazy? That's where the FOOD was!

Mom knew it was hot in her house. When we arrived, we saw that she had opened a kitchen window. Yes. A kitchen window. But she had not put up the storm window. And Hick found the other one stuck shut by the black rubber weatherstripping. So we had one window half-way open, with no cross-breeze because Mom's front door is a glass storm door. She brought up a little fan thingy that looks like a post that rotates. After the prayer, after we all filled our plates, as we were sitting down to eat, there was Mom, lugging an ancient box fan from the basement, through the family room, up the steps, through the kitchen, into the dining room where the grandkids eat. Poor grandkids. They had a window, but when they offered to open it, Mom said, "That window has never opened since we built his house back in 1970."

Oh, she knew. Why in the world she could not just flick that thermostat from OFF to COOL, I'll never know. You'd think she woulda had to prime a pump, go to the icehouse and sweep sawdust off a big block of lake ice, tear off the roof shingles, or saw a hole in to floor for sucking cool air up from the basement.

What is with these septuagenarians? Seventy-eight degrees is too hot for a full meal at a family gathering. It's not going to break the bank to run the air conditioner for three hours on Easter Sunday. Not that Mom doesn't have the money. As Hick likes to say, "Your mom has enough money to burn a wet mule."

I'm not sure who I should mention first in my informational call to State Hospital Number Four...Mom, or Hick.


  1. It is always a battle of heat and cold with older people. Mrs C. is always cold, I don't get it.

  2. I was in a hot dining room today as well, Once we finished eating, we moved outside, and it was much cooler.

    I think you should arrange for your mom and Hick to share a room...

  3. Lovely in our dining room but we retreated to outside once our faces were stuffed.

  4. Yesterday was a warm one.

    We have the battle of the thermostat at our house. When it hits 70, we open the windows, 80 turn on the attic fan, 85 on goes the AC.

  5. joeh,
    Mrs. C is going to set you aflame is she sees that you called her old.

    Yes. Maybe I could get a discount. I could put a sign in my yard advertising for State Hospital Number Four.

    We had an indoor plastic Easter egg hunt for one-dollar scratch-off tickets. Didn't want anyone to break a hip stepping in a molehill out in the yard. My mom's giant plastic spinning sunflower yard ornaments are stored away since the winter. The mole is having a heyday.

    Open windows and the attic fan pull in lots of pollen this time of year. We have an allergy-sufferer or two who don't need it clinging to the carpet and fabrics. The only time our house goes to 85 is when the AC is broken, or the power is out. Which was three times one summer.