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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Summer memories

  • Today it’s supposed to be back to a hundred degrees with a heat index of, like, 174.
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  • Today it’s supposed to be back to a hundred degrees with a heat index of, like, 174.
    So I’m giving thanks for my air conditioner and for Canadian Valley Electric keeping the juice flowing to it. Can I get an amen on that?
    I was 29 before I lived in a house with an air conditioner and now I can’t imagine life without one.
    That realization thrusts me into a reflective mood and leads me to share some of the enduring memories from my pre-air conditioner days.
    No. 1 - The swamp cooler at Grandma Solomon’s house. If you aren’t familiar with swamp coolers, you should know that they allegedly reduce temperatures through evaporation.
    They actually work sometimes when the humidity is low, but the cool thing about Grandma’s was the big wheel fan that blew the air into the room.
    You could whistle into it and make cool sounds like falling bombs and fire trucks and air raid sirens until the adults had enough and made you quit.
    No. 2 - Making ice cream. Ice docks had already yielded to home refrigerators when I was a kid, but almost every town still had one that sold ice in blocks that weighed maybe 30 pounds.
    Grownups would chip the blocks into pieces small enough to fit into ice cream freezers, which they would compel teenaged boys to crank until the ice cream was ready.
    Certainly made eating ice cream more of an adventure than buying it from the drive-through window.
    No. 2b - There are rumors that left-over ice fragments are the perfect device for goosing one’s girl cousins, but hey. Who’s to say?
    No. 3 - The Cardinals on the radio. Our television was known for going on the fritz and we had long stretches where we just didn’t get it fixed.
    It didn’t matter in the summer because Harry Caray and Jack Buck called the Cardinals’ games on KMOX.
    A transistor radio on the porch in the evening breeze with Harry and Jack was theater of the mind at its best.
     
    - Brian Blansett is publisher of The Shawnee News-Star.

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