MAMA AND THE AIR CONDITIONER
So here it was, the beginning of July in the middle 1950's and it was hot. So hot that mama kept mumbling, “Springs sprung, Fall's fell, Summer's here and it's hotter than hell.” We were miserable. The heat that summer was unbearable. Sure, we had been in our new house out in the country for only a couple of years. “It's cooler in the country, you know,” daddy said when we built this ranch style house. “Yet, we are still hot,” mama said. “You'll get used to it,” daddy said. Mama didn't. She asked for ceiling fans. “Too expensive to have all those fans,” daddy replied. “Besides, there are still things that have not been finished yet, like the barn being built, or the dog pen for my hunting dogs. I don't even have a decent place to fatten a hog. Besides, we have lots of windows opposite each other and tons of air circulation. You'll be all right.”
Mama huffed from the room saying under her breath, “The wind doesn't always seem to favor blowing all the time for our pleasure, you old skinflint. We are hot, you miserable old tightwad.” Mama was more determined than ever to be cooler. The next week, while daddy was gone, she researched air conditioners for the windows. She had men come out and measure and quote prices, carefully writing down all the details and different estimates. She presented them to daddy when he returned. Taking one look at them he said, “Are you kidding? That is too expensive.” This really made mama hot. No, mama didn't “glow” like all true southern women. Nor was she the type of hot where you sweat buckets. She was so hot her blood boiled.
To everyone else, life seemed to be fine for the Blairs. Daddy had been elected to the State House of Representatives and making a life for himself. Even his business, Blair's Pest Control, was going well enough. Well, for him at least. He didn't need air conditioning. He wasn't home that much any more and when he was he was outdoors on his tractor, planting or harvesting the cotton and corn we grew on what is now Mohon Street and Brame Junior High School. And if he wasn't there then he was out playing politician. We were the ones who had to suffer.
Meanwhile, mama stopped cooking steaks and big meals using the oven thinking that would make him change his mind. No, he began to eat at Effie's Restaurant with his cronies, while we ate peanut butter sandwiches. Nothing seemed to work. Meanwhile, the barn wasn't being built; the dogs still had their little pen and the hogs shared the barn lot with the cows. Daddy continued finding ways to not get things done. He was too busy, politicking, or he had to go hunting or fishing, were his excuses. Mama just got madder.
One day, in early August, daddy came home with a brand new bass boat, the latest model. It had all the bells and whistles, wonderful motor. Everything a fine fisherman needed to enjoy on his days off. Mama hit the ceiling, but held her tongue.
Two weeks later, the legislative session began and daddy left for Baton Rouge. The first thing mama did was call the dealer that gave the most expensive quote and ordered air conditioners. She told them to install window units in all three bedrooms, the dining room and living room as well as the laundry room and to send the bill to Blair's Pest Control where it would be paid promptly. “Oh, and please write at the top of the ticket, in bold letters, 'Thanks for the bass boat.' We love it,” she told them. They did.
Daddy never said another word and we no longer had to wring our sheets out every morning after waking. Life was cool for all the Blairs. I think my daddy learned a lesson that day. He learned to never underestimate the power of a hot, mad woman.
© Nippy Blair 2015. Posts and pictures on this blog cannot be copied, downloaded, printed, or used without the permission of the blog owner, Nippy Blair.