Friday, July 02, 2010

Southern Ladies Glow

Ever hear the old adage: Horses sweat, men perspire, ladies glow?

Let me tell you... I'm glowing so much, I could light up the town!

When I was growing up, all the "old" ladies were shiny. My grandmother was shiny. My first landlord was very shiny. My mom even got to shine from time to time. When I say old, though, I'm not talking elderly. The elderly women had soft, soft skin, like peaches. THESE women still had the plump of relative youth in their cheeks. I never did understand why, despite makeup and blotting paper, these women ranged from a slight glow to looking like they'd been dipped in a vat of grease.

Let me say though, that when I was a child, air conditioning was not a common thing. Very few people actually had it and the ones that did had to have it added to their existing houses. (The house I live in now was retrofitted and we have an odd soffet running the length of the house that is our air conditioning duct.) The house I spent most of my childhood in didn't have AC. We had a gigantic attic fan. If the doors and windows were open, that fan could pull air through the house like a horse could pull a little red wagon. It was a most amazing thing. I used to sleep with my head on the window sill of my bedroom window and spent the night with lovely cool air flowing down my body to my toes. It was wonderful.

Houses aren't built like that anymore... and even if they were, it's not safe to leave your windows open at night. Everybody has air conditioning, either built in when the house was built or added later like it was on mine. We've become oh, so dependent on the stuff to make Florida summers liveable.

The shiny ladies of my youth didn't have air conditioning. They made do with summer shifts and fans and tall glasses of lemonade or sweet tea and a shady porch in the middle of the day.

I'm glad I remember this because I'm going to be emulating them. Our AC froze up tonight. Both inside and outside at the condenser. This does not bode well. And of course, it's the Friday night before a long holiday weekend. I can't afford to pay weekend and/or holiday rates, so unless we can figure it out ourselves, we will not have AC this weekend. Tonight, we sleep without covers under fans on high.

And tomorrow? Look for me on the back porch wearing a thin summer shift and holding a tall glass of iced tea!


Janis said...

Oh will glow indeed. Better stock up on the ice and find some shade. Summer in Florida can be brutal!

Sandy said...

I love this post! I first heard about glowing from the nuns who taught me.

I also just bought a fan (hand-held, non-battery, bend your wrist to flap it) at World Market. I intend to sit on my porch with a tall glass of iced tea and emulate all the other ladies of the south.

I hope your AC fix is something inexpensive.

Native Mom said...

Great post! My kids just can't believe I grew up in Florida without air conditioning. Hope you got your AC fixed.

Pamela said...

I'd always heard it "women shine"
... good to know the real verbage.

Kinda like the idea of the head on the window sill --- and the fan pulling the air thru.