Commentary

Hot thoughts from a summer, uh fall, night

Warning to readers: Notes for this column were made about 3 a.m. during a sleepless night in an 86-degree house with a border collie trying to put her pointy nose in my note-taking hand.

So this column may be disjointed, nonsensical and foolish.

Then again, that just may make it like all the others. T he old adage goes “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

That’s why I’m sitting in my living room, in a dark house trying to put down my thoughts.

Our air conditioning went out this afternoon. It’s going to be fixed tomorrow. Uh, later today.

Of course this couldn’t have happened three days ago when we all went to work in our coats after the season’s first norther.

It happened today when I saw a bank thermometer read “92” and it was still 89 at bedtime.

Of course we opened all the windows, turned on all the fans and tried to pretend that when you circulate hot air it turns into cool air instead of what it actually is, moving hot air.

I turned around and put my head at the foot of our bed to place it nearer the air flow from a large bathroom window, pounded the pillow, told myself everything was going to be alright.

And, drifted off.

I said, drifted off.

Drifted off to sleep.

Man, it’s hot!

So I thought I’d fool myself by thinking about other stuff. This kind of reminded me about those summer nights when I was growing up—to the extent I did—in a house in east Rockdale.

We didn’t have AC. We had a big, I mean, big attic fan. It didn’t blow air out, it sucked air in.

My father built the house and he put these little louver things all around the eaves. He’d open them in the summer, creating a cross-breeze.

We’d open the windows, turn that attic fan on and it would be nice and cool. Really worked well.

Yes, I know it just moved hot air around, but it was a lot of hot air. Of course when the city’s mosquito fogger came by you had to rush to turn the fan off, and/or close the windows, or you’d have a house full of bug spray.

I think there are two kinds of people in Rockdale. Those who can’t remember the fogger and those who can’t forget it.

Somehow thinking about how cool I was as a kid didn’t help me forget how hot I was now. (Yes, I know I should fix that sentence, but I kinda like it.)

So, I decided to ask my wife if she wanted to move to the living room which has the house’s only ceiling fan.

She was fast asleep. The warm night wasn’t bothering her at all. Sue spent 17 years in northern Minnesota and tells everyone she came to Texas to warm up. “Have you made it?” they’ll ask. “Almost,” is her reply.

So I took my pillow and wandered into the living room alone.

It was easy seeing in the dark. Do you have all the little LED lights and displays at your house like I do in mine?

They’re on ovens, satellite boxes, monitors, networking devices, cell phone chargers and a couple of appliances I can’t even find in the daytime.

But they don’t look so bright in the day, especially the one on the charger. I had to buy another charger because I left mine in a motel in Newport, Kentucky. Apparently I got the model that doubles as a lighthouse. You can read the agate type in The Reporter by that thing.

I plopped down on the couch where it was, indeed, cooler.

Until I was suddenly covered by 45 pounds of thick, insulating fur, wrapped around a tongue.

It was Jovi Brown, border collie. I immediately disciplined her. “I’m going to call that Cesar guy from TV!” I scolded.

This quieted her down after about two and a half hours.

It’s surprising how much you notice at night with the windows open, when all the daytime noises have ceased.

When a cat walks by outside— not an uncommon experience in our neighborhood—you can hear the “trip, trip, trip” through the leaves.

A car eases by and you will hear, alternately fainter, louder, then fainter again “plop, PLOP, plop” as our street gets its morning daily paper deliveries.

It’s October but there are still a few insect sounds. I remember as a kid in August, hearing the cicadas—which we used to call “locusts”—holding what sounded like an out-of-tune violin concerto so loudly it drowned out all the other night noises.

Somewhere in the night a dog barks. Our other border collie, a big coward named “Goose,” hears it, shakes himself and comes over to lay by me, hoping I will protect him if some chihuahua comes to our house for a home invasion.

It’s peaceful. So peaceful, in fact, that I begin to get into the rhythm of the night, a slower more restful one than during the hectic hours under the sun.

It’s soothing, almost like the Navajo concept of hozho, when your personal tuning fork vibrates in unison with that of everything around you, a harmony so blissful that for the first time tonight I feel myself starting down into easy slumber and ..........

Ring! It’s my alarm.

Oh well, what did I learn. Just that I now get to live in a brand new day. Up and at ‘em.

Began the night thinking about my father, appropriate that I end it thinking about one of his favorite verses, Psalm 118:24.

“This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

I’ll try. Yaaaaaaaaawn!

mike@rockdalereporter.com


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2012-10-18 digital edition



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