Air Conditioning 101
Increasingly, if I am any indicator,
Us " Oldsters " anymore look backward
Rather than forward, to find out that
The past mollifies stress and pain
Through the passage of time and
Puts a pleasurable gilding on memories :
Real or imagined, artful or drab,
Even long forgotten wry old wishes .
Up on the three storied roof of Barker's barn,
Formerly known to us as the Wade Farm,
I cut my teeth high up, a twelve year old's fright.
No prior experience, did Mom and Dad know ?
A bucket of barn red paint, a four inch wide brush,
A simple cloths line safety tie off rope, and
The the rickety, rung missing, extension ladder.
You've seen raised seam barn roofs many times,
But have you felt the sun's unrelenting
Reflection of vapored, scorching, oppressive
Heat that burns through leather gloves ?
Tin roofs have a cruel way of accepting paint.
How much paint was on me, on the roof ?
The Barkers were Mennonites , in dress at least.
They gave me my first lesson in air conditioning.
I came to work there while staying with my
Father's parents, Wee Annie and Gran'Pa Downie,
As were fondly known by Houck Road neighbors.
As usual, mine a working vacation, no complaints.
I didn't wear a hat, I didn't know I'd be on a roof.
My employer, Barker, gave me an old used straw hat
To keep the harsh sun rays directly off my head.
After lunch we all realized how hot it really was
Mr.Barker took me to the garden patch. There he
Pulled off a large, thick outer leaf of a cabbage
And handed it to me."Stuff this leaf inside your
Hat, let me know if this doesn't help the heat."
Air Conditioning 101 was a huge success. Try it.
Ronald C . Downie