I remember my childhood days before home air conditioners were available. It was all you could do just to lie about and not get hot. You would run through the sprinkler in the backyard or you would soak in a tub of cool water. You would have every window and door in the house open (all with screens, of course) and you would sit in front of a fan if at all possible. At night, we would sometimes sleep out on the front porch after it got dark - it was cooler. Later, we got some window fans and dad put in a big attic fan that would blow the hot air out and the curtains would stand straight out from the windows letting in the cooler night air. One summer, when it stayed above 100 for days, we got a large block of ice and put it in a bucket in front of a floor fan and just sat there letting the cool moist air brush across us.
What brought this to mind is the fact that my home air conditioner seems to be taking a vacation right now. Yesterday when it got to be 100 outside, it got to be 85 inside. This morning it was 77 outside and 80 inside. The air conditioner has been running full blast without having any effect. I've called for help, but it will be several days. I'll just have to pray for rain or go for long drives in an air conditioned car. It's amazing how spoiled we have become. We have made our homes so airtight and buttoned up to help hold in the cool or heat that we don't have the screens or fans that we used to have. I could run through the sprinkler, but I would feel a bit silly at my age. If I sat in a cold bucket, it would be just my luck to get stuck - not a pretty picture.
With the house sealed up, you lose the sounds and feel of summer. I remember the crickets and the locusts. Remember the lightening bugs? You could hear the summer wind through the trees and you could smell the freshly cut grass. The earth was warm, but the grass was soft. Now we shut those senses off as we button down and turn on the air conditioner. Now all you hear is the sound of the furnace fan or the refrigerator or the television blaring. You gain the cool but you give up some part of living with nature.
Come winter, this will seem like a silly thing to have worried about as we wrap ourselves up in another blanket to keep warm.