Thursday, August 21, 2008

Indian Canoe

Indian Canoe
8.5" x 11"
I'm trying to think cool thoughts. Our air conditioner went out yesterday and we are sweltering. The repairman said the whole outdoor unit is out, so we will have to replace that. Meanwhile, he stuck a small window unit in a living room window, so we could "sleep cool tonight".
The problem is that we don't use that room except to walk through. It is big and open to the dining room, the den and kitchen, laundry room, and into a hall that leads to the bed rooms. The wall of the hall blocks off the bedrooms from the living room. He assured us that it would keep us cool.
Well, it would, if we stand by it, I guess. We bought extra fans and we do have ceiling fans, that help a little. I think it would be cooler to go outside, actually. We tried opening windows, but there is absolutely no breeze.
Thankfully, it is not one of those 100 plus degree times. We had rain a couple of days ago, and some clouds yesterday, so it was under 90 degrees. And the thunderstorms held off.
We humans may be somewhat uncomfortable, but the cats and dog are another story. I tried to get them to stay near a fan or the a/c, but they won't. They do have water, and can move around until they find a comfortable place. The dog was eating ice cubes during the afternoon. Twenty two year old Bitsy, the Manx cat, seemed to just stop while she was walking, look like she was going to fall over, then keep going. I tried to take her near the air conditioner or a fan, but she ran off to where she wanted to go. She is very independent and aloof.
This is the second time this summer that the a/c has gone out. The last time was during one of those scorchers, over 100 degrees. I thought the dog and the oldest cat were going to expire. That time, the a/c was only a tiny bit low on freon. Now, the whole thing is out. Which means thousands of dollars. Ouch!
But, we can't do without our air conditioning in this area, these days.
My grandson said that he couldn't sleep at all last night because he was so hot. They finally opened a window in that bed room, which is always hotter than the rest of the house, and put a fan in the window, and I think they finally were able to sleep tonight.
I told him that we didn't have air conditioning, or even a fan, when I was growing up. Some people spent time outside or found a shady spot or cool place during the day, and just sweated and tossed and turned during the night. I remember the bed linens, clothes, and hair being soaking wet while we just prayed that it would hurry up and be daylight so that we could at least go outside in the shade or to a cooler place, and get out of those hot beds and dripping wet clothes.
We had very small refrigerators that only had a tiny freezer, big enough for one metal ice tray, and a small section to put a package of meat. My room was on the southwest corner, and really got hot in the afternoons. Small rooms and windows didn't help. So, I made my own air conditioning. I tore up some old sheets, just the size of the screens on my windows. Then I put a tray of ice cubes in a pan of water, and soaked the rags. The cold rags were pressed onto the window screens and I was all set for 30 minutes or so. I could sit in my room and read funny books, listen to the radio or records, and even take a nap, in comfort. Until the rags warmed up. Then I would have to repeat the process.
That was fine, but I had to be sure that the ice tray had ice in it when Daddy came home for supper!
I haven't resorted to cold rags over the windows, yet, but I did freeze some water in plastic containers to put in front of the fans.
A few minutes ago, I opened the freezer door to get a cold drink, and, immediately, ice began to thaw from the ice dispenser, and drip on the floor.
I've heard about people on vacations, people going to places like Colorado or the beach. I'm going to have an air conditioner instead of a vacation-I guess. But I have memories.
The above sketch shows what I did some afternoons when I went on vacation to Colorado Springs with my great-aunt and great-uncle, "Toot" and "Honey".
"Honey" worked hard all year and needed a vacation where he could rest. And "Toot" was a live- wire, and loved going. She especially loved Colorado where she had vacationed with her parents. And, when "Toot" and "Honey" took a trip, they took one of the nieces or nephews with them. My trip happened when I was probably about 9 years old.
They rented a tourist cabin for a week or so. "Honey" took a nap most afternoons and I had to be quiet during that time. Some days, I sat in the little powder room, that only had a little shelf and a mirror, with a window, and I would draw and wish I had stayed at home! That is, until I had a big nosebleed one day while I was sitting there drawing. The dry climate and altitude. My sinus doctor later told me that it was my sinuses healing.
One of the little souveniers that I bought was a small, wooden Indian Canoe. While "Honey" napped and "Toot" rested, I went behind the tourist court where there was a beautiful, babbling brook or stream with a little waterfall and small rapids. It passed under a railroad bridge. The water was only about ankle deep, but swift. I put my little canoe into the water and chased it as it ran through the rapids. I could only imagine that it had passengers.
One day, another little girl was also playing in the stream, and we used the canoe between us. One letting the canoe go, upstream; the other catching the canoe below, before it went too far where the water was deeper.
We got tired of our game and decided to wait for a train to cross over on the bridge . What would it be like to be under a train? We stood under the bridge, but never saw a train.
I don't remember if I ever knew the little girl's name, or anything about her. I got the feeling that she lived there and was not a tourist.
We had a good time, and that water was so cool and pleasant. Sometimes, we would just sit down and let the water rush around us. How I would like to be able to sit in a cool creek now! Or even enjoy the cool breeze under the trees.
I wondered if those little tourist courts are still there, and if the stream is still there, so clear and clean. I think they were called something like Manitou Courts. I don't think I ever knew the name of the stream.
School starts here next week, so I guess it is time for families to wind up their summer vacations. I hope that you have been able to have a good vacation this summer. A lot of people have had to stay at home due to gas prices, and other problems with the economy, jobs, and for other reasons. These days, going anywhere, even the grocery store, is as big a thing as a vacation.
Get ready for the 20th World Wide Sketch Crawl Saturday October 25. You can click on the link in my sidebar to go to their website for more information.
Anyone in the Brazos Valley interested in participating?

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