The long coming of an air cooler

Published 3:00 am Sunday, May 20, 2018

After pulling weeds from around the tomato plants, I went in the house, hot and sweaty, to sit under the ceiling fan. I’m too “thrifty’ to run the air conditioning at this time of the year.

But before we got air conditioning, I thought the oscillating fan was the greatest thing since popcorn at the picture show.

Then one hot summer day, a friend announced that her daddy had bought her family an air cooler and it made their house so cold that she had to wear her flannel pajamas at night.

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None of us paid too much attention to her. We thought she was just telling a big ol’ story. But she kept talking about the air cooler until we called her bluff.

“Let’s go see it.”

She would have to ask her mama if we could come. Maybe the next day.

The next day, we rode our bicycles to see this air-cooling machine. We arrived hot and sweaty.

Our bragging friend guided us to the door with instructions to hurry in so we wouldn’t let the cool air out.

To our surprise and disbelief, she had not told a story at all. The room was icy cold, causing us to shiver.

We were amazed at the machine in the window that was blowing cold air, just like Jack Frost did in wintertime, except it was in the blazing, hot summertime. Where did the cold air come from and how did it get in that funny looking window box?

Our curiosity gave way to comfort.

That summer, “Jill” was the most popular kid in town. She had more friends than you could shake a stick at and we all became couch “cucumbers.”

Before long, that ol’ green, envy monster began to raise its ugly head.

If Jill’s family could have an air cooler, why couldn’t ours?” We all began to covet.

One night at the supper table, I decided I’d bring up our need for an air cooler.

I started talking about how hot it was and how nice it was at Jill’s house where they had an air cooler. It sure would be nice if we had one instead of that ol’ oscillating fan that just sent a breeze your way every now and then.

I could see Daddy frowning behind his newspaper. He kind of grunted.

Daddy was tight when it came to money. Stingy might be a better word. Mama said Daddy could squeeze two nickels out of a dime. So, I knew that it would be up to Mama if we got an air cooler.

Daddy usually ruled the roost but sometimes Mama would put her foot down.

But Mama didn’t put her foot down about an air cooler. I think she was after a telephone without a party line because we soon got one.

Years later, Daddy squeezed a few dimes and we got an air cooler. It was put in the window right where it would blow on Daddy in his easy chair. Mama put the oscillating fan in the closet and we both started holding out for a television set. That was a long time coming, too.