Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Original Survivor Series

I was reading BooMama's post http://boomama.blogspot.com/2006/08/be-sure-to-invite-me-next-time-you-go.html, and yes I know that is quite long and detailed, and that with a bloggy blink of an eye I can somehow post that post on my post without actually posting the post. But, I haven' t taken the time to figure that out, simple as it may be, because I am busy with other things, like washing my hair and doing windows.

Anyhoo. I was reading about BooMama's terrible moments without AC in Alabama, of all places, in August, and it dawned on me. BooMama, you gotta flip your pillow, or "pilluh" as we say down here.

My parents and I lived in Albany, Georgia and we did have air conditioning, running water, cable TV, and all of those other things people think Southern folks know nothing about. But, my maternal grandparents lived in a little town in Southeast Georgia. I cannot divulge the name of the town, because I write about it often and I would like to remain in the wills of all my relatives.

While my grandparents did have running water and cable TV (PaPa had to watch his Hee Haw and his Jeopardy!), they did not have air conditioning. I think they just didn't see the need for it. They had survived just fine without it so far. Why change now?

South Georgia is a lot like parts of Alabama in the summer. It is just hot, Africa kind of hot. It is sticky hot. If you don't know sticky hot, count yourself as one of the fortunate ones. Because, let me tell you, those people on Survivor don't know hot 'til they've been sticky hot. And, you don't run around your Granny's house in a bikini like the contestants on Survivor. If you tried, Granny would have firmly informed you of your lack of modesty, moral decency, and the fact that you were in her house, and as long as you were in her house, you would not be " prancing around looking like something off the street." (I am not quoting, but guessing that's what she would have said, if you had the guts to try and walk around in a bikini in her house.)

Along with sticky hot and appropriately dressed, you were also in Granny's kitchen at high noon frying, boiling, baking and broiling because Granny cooked three full meals a day. There was no sandwich meat in the refrigerator because PaPa did not eat sandwiches. There were no salad ingredients because PaPa said salad was rabbit food. Only full course, fully cooked meals would do. Period.

In between the three fully cooked meals, you were standing at Granny's sink washing dishes, because Granny didn't use the dishwasher. Notice I said "didn't use" because she did actually have one. She just never got around to using it. I suppose it was at the bottom of the "necessary" list, along with air conditioning. Washing dishes in very hot water without air conditioning after a lunch (aka "dinner") of fried chicken, boiled butterbeans, and biscuits baked at an oven temperature which still permeates the room, is- well, you get the picture.

When you weren't in the kitchen, you were on my grandparents' porch because it was cooler outside. Sometimes we would ride over to Dollar General across town (about 4 miles away) just to cool off.

The worst part of the day in a non-air conditioned house in the middle of the summer in South Georgia is actually not the part of the day. It is night time. I would take my bath, get nice and cool, and before I had finished brushing my teeth, I was sweaty again- sticky hot.

When I climbed in bed, the sheets would feel fairly cool as I lay under the ceiling fan. I can still remember the feeling of the fan blowing and the sound of the crickets outside. Something about laying there really still kept you a little bit cooler. And then the pillow felt hot. So, I flipped it. This is a survival tool for sleeping sticky hot. For some reason the underside of the pillow is at least 5, 10, 20 degrees cooler.

Survival instincts stay in a person, long after they have lived through an experience. Even now, when we have power outages, I can remember the survival methods I was taught as a child. The sound of the crickets outside triggers a childhood memory and a tiny voice cries out to me in the sweltering, sticky heat- "Flip the pillow."

Ahhhh, off to dream land...


Big Mama said...

Great post! I have always been a big fan of flipping the pillow.

Lori said...

Eastern NC weather is much the same. You made me right teary-eyed as I read the post, remembering growing up. Maybe we had the same PaPa...

mouse said...

Really enjoyed your post. I live in GA also and we have air but I still flip my pillow most nights.

Mommy Dearest said...

Yes, I flip my pillow in this Georgia heat, one of those "skills" learned as a child.

Tammy said...

What a cute- and educational- post! :)
I spent a few summers in Virginia and I remember "sticky hot". And there were a few times growing up, even the cool northwest, that we had some sort of sticky-hot heat wave and no air conditioning. One fond memory was the house that had a basement, and my parents and I set up fort down there for the duration, bringing a black and white TV with us. It was an adventure!

Not to rub it in...but this week it's a refreshingly cool 78...(ducking to miss the pillows being thrown at computer screen.) ;)

BooMama said...

Oh, I'm a fan of the pillow flip. It was always the best, though, on these yellow satin-y nylon-y pillow cases that my mama had.

And my daddy calls lettuce "rabbit food," too! Really!

The South is good. :-)

ruth said...

I visited after seeing your post on my daughter Tammy's blog. I never heard of the the wonderful pillow flipping idea. In the summer we do get some hot days in Oregon, but last summer, I broke down & got a window air conditioner for my bedroom. Most of the house stays cool except for it so now I enjoy cool breezes & sleep great.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh...the memories! I grew up in LA (Lower Alabama)...probably not too far from you since I was in southeast Alabama.

Summers are BRUTAL!! My kids think they have it rough...NOT!

The pillow-flipping trick...I still do it!