Posted tagged ‘airconditioning’

“A small town is a place where there’s no place to go where you shouldn’t.”

July 28, 2011

The morning is already warm. It is 77°, but I am in the cool den which doesn’t boil over until afternoon. Soon enough, though, I’m turning on the air-conditioner. This morning I went to the Thursday farmers’ market. It’s a small one but I managed to spend some money, not a big surprise. I bought lavender and oregano for the garden, sweet orange-vanilla soap for me, a couple of cucumbers and some cherry tomatoes, corn bread, some pulled-pork to go with it and for Miss Gracie, yogurt, banana dog biscuits. The woman from whom I bought them guaranteed their taste. She had given them a try and thought them delicious. Gracie agreed and ate the sample I gave her.

The Buttery, a store in my town, had wooden barrels out front. Some were filled with flour and sugar and their barrel tops held cheese for sale. The cheese was always cheddar and was sold in chunks. The store was filled with household essentials like soap powder, blue laundry whitener and Quaker’s Oats, the kind you cook on the stove. I used to like to look in the windows filled with produce like potatoes, onions and carrots, all sitting in long wicker baskets with handles. I don’t remember when the Buttery became The Children’s Corner, but now an Indian restaurant occupies the same spot. My sister and I had lunch there, and it was delicious.

Many of the stores used to have awnings of all different colors. They made the square look festive. My friends and I would walk uptown just to roam and window shop. The sidewalks always had people carrying bags filled with whatever they’d bought. Some even carried baskets. I remember seeing the loaves of bread still uncut. Whatever the shoppers needed, they could find. The square had everything.

It’s still called the square, and many of the oldest buildings are there but not the old stores. None of those are left. The fish-market is an upscale Italian restaurant; the shoe store was torn down and only a space is there. Wordsworth’s is a fabric store. I forget what the drug store is now, but that old drug store, Middlesex Drugs, had my favorite soda fountain, a white marble one which always felt cold.

I eat at the Italian Restaurant after I see a play at my old movie theater, and I’ll go back to the Indian restaurant because the food was so good. Near the theater is a small cafe I’d like to try. The only store from my childhood I really miss is the bakery, Hanks. It had the best window display, and I loved the lemon cupcakes with their domes of lemon. I think every town needs a bakery with the aroma of baking bread wafting through the air.

Not that I’m excited or anything but four weeks from now I’ll be on a plane winging my way to Ghana after a stopover in Frankfurt.

“Technology is the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it.”

July 22, 2011

The weather is just as they predicted: hot and humid. It is  one time I’d wish they’d have gotten it wrong. Today, though, will be the worst of it because, by the end of the weekend, the nights will be in the high 50’s for a couple of days. I’m all for that!

It’s so much easier living without when you have no idea what you’re missing. Fans were what kept us cool. I’d stand in front of the one in our living room until my sister or my brother complained I was taking all the cold. At night, I’d fall asleep despite the heat. A day of bike riding or walking the tracks or playing softball in the hot afternoon was enough to exhaust me for the night. I don’t remember which store was the first to be air-conditioned, but I’m betting, like in many towns, it was the movie theater. In my town in Ghana, it was a bar. The whole town called it the cold room. It was in the Hotel d’Bull, just about the only place to stay while in Bolga in those days. Crowds would so fill the bar that you could barely feel the air-conditioning. Inside the bar wasn’t a frequent spot for me. I didn’t drink beer or gin or scotch, the only alcoholic offerings. I drank coke. My Ghanaian friends loved to go to that bar so I’d meet them for a bit and hope to find a seat near the air conditioner. I seldom did.

My house is wonderfully cool right now. The two times I went outside I gasped in the heat. Gracie was out for a couple of minutes then came right back inside-nothing dumb about that dog.

My electric can opener broke, and I didn’t replace it because many cans are tabbed now, and my old hand can opener works just fine on the ones that aren’t. It was strange at first to wind the old opener as it worked its way around the top of the can. The lid almost always fell into the food in the can, and I was ever careful taking it out so I didn’t cut myself, but I have now become quite adept at opening the can without the lid falling, and I have yet to cut myself.

That got me to wondering what I could live without. Obviously the electric can opener is one, but I’m hard -pressed to come up with much more. My pencil sharpener is an old one with blades, but that hardly counts. I do use use my broom to sweep the floors as the vacuum cleaner is down the cellar and is now too heavy for me to haul upstairs. I guess that counts.

I can’t come up with anymore. My creature conveniences are far too ingrained. I’m going to have to give this some thought.

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