I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog Bio Air Conditioning and Gratitude

Hot Hot HotI didn’t grow up with air conditioning. When we lived in Siren, Wisconsin when I was 5-7 years old, the humidity was almost unbearable during the summer months. Wisconsin has lakes dotted all over. Some lakes were good for fishing, some for swimming and some were little more than swamps—and dangerous at that. Back in the late fifties, we didn’t even think about air conditioning. When we wanted to cool off we headed to one of the lakes that bracketed our small town. There were no lifeguards and parents didn’t always go with their kids. In fact, we younger children often went with our older siblings.

Eastern Wyoming didn’t have an abundance of lakes or rivers. Many creek beds remained dry except during Spring run-off. Humidity wasn’t a problem. But temperatures often climbed over the 100% mark. Still, without moisture, the temperatures didn’t feel near as hot as much lower temperatures felt in Wisconsin. The nearest swimming pool was 30 miles away in Lusk. Our folks took us to swim a few times during the summer. Where we lived water was not abundant, so we didn’t just turn on the hose to cool off. Best stay in the shade instead.

Every place I lived as a child was a bit different, but air conditioning was never part of the equation, though, eventually, fans were. Oh, how nice the air felt from those fans.

Even after Keith and I married and my brother built a house suited for my limitations, we had no air conditioning. Paul set the house up for it, but we couldn’t afford it at the time. Instead, during the summer months, we opened windows. It helped some and I liked hearing the birds and the sounds of summer. Nights, however, were muggy and I found it difficult to rest.

We didn’t get AC until our daughter was 13 and had some health issues that led us to install air conditioning. Though we had to close our windows, the cool air felt so good on those steaming hot August days. We don’t turn our AC on in the spring until we’re sure the Winter chill has permanently warmed. (We turned on the AC this year only to have to revert to heat again before the Spring warmth actually stayed.)

With AC my clothes aren’t wringing wet by the end of the day. I don’t have to find the lightest thing possible to wear. If I sit close to our large front picture window, I can still see the trees and flowers and hear the birds from across the street at Collins Park. I know what it is not to have AC and as I sit in my cool home, I think about those who invented, marketed, and install the units—and I give thanks. I’ve learned that giving thanks lifts up far better and elevates my emotions much more than finding fault and complaining.

Giving thanks for everyday and small things is a good way to get into a habit of looking for the positive instead getting bogged down in negativity. Besides, I am really thankful for air conditioning, aren’t you?

(c) 2022 By Carolyn R Scheidies
Kearney Hub column published 2022 August 23
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