Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I tried to post last night but things were moving so slow on the computer that I gave up. Thankfully it has improved today. You that use Blogger know it is tempermental at times!

It's very hot and muggy. I am not complaining, I'm just sayin! I know that a lot of folks are having the same woes. Air conditioning has us spoiled. I think back to the days when I was growing up and we had no AC. Downstairs was warm but upstairs was even worse. We had a screen door which we hooked at night but the main door wasn't closed. Can't do that these days! Well you can, but who wants to? We lived in the country and I remember the one house we lived in I would sleep in the living room. Yes, we had a bed in the living room. At daybreak one of the roosters woke me up with its crowing on the porch. Mind you, school was out and I wanted to sleep in. I would get up and go throw something at the rooster to try and run him off so I wouldn't be able to be disturbed so easily. By then I was awake so he had already done his job of waking me up. Darned rooster.

I think of us working in the fields and it was hot but it didn't seem that bad. We always took a jug of water or drank from the spring, which was mighty refreshing. Then we sat under a tree in the shade to cool off. Daddy would take his cap off and fan with it. It seemed like the breeze under there would be cool. After we cooled off back to work we went. This was usually chopping tobacco. Growing tobacco is a year round job. My Dad didn't want any weeds in his tobacco so we always chopped it 2-3 times. Then you had to top it once it all bloomed out. He also wanted you to look for tobacco worms and pluck them off and kill them if you saw any. To be honest I didn't look. If one wasn't right there for me to see, I just topped the tobacco and moved on. That was a hot sticky job. The gum from the tobacco got on your hands and it was a sticky stinky mess to clean off. The best way was soap and a washcloth. The rubbing with the washcloth usually brought it off. Same thing when you stripped tobacco, you always got gummy hands. But I digress.

I was talking about AC, or the lack of AC, or at least that was meant to be my main subject today. I think of how hard my mother had to work back in those days, back in the days when I was too young to remember and before that. Back then they cooked on woodstoves. Can you imagine having to get up and light up a woodstove on such a hot day like today? Then all the work in the garden with the growing, gathering, and canning? We used to sit in the shade in the evening or on the front porch. It always seemed to cool off then. Later in life, my parents had a window AC but they would never use it hardly ever. Dad said it spoiled you and only made it seem hotter when you went outside. I think that's true but I sure would hate to have to go without it. I am one of the spoiled ones.

One more thing. If you get a chance to go check out Yoderman (Alex) and look at his photos. He and his wife have a new baby boy Daegon! They are starting a new journey in life!


Blogger Sue said...

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading this. My dad's family was all from KY and were tobacco farmers. They left for CA in 1941. (Dad was born in Bowling Green) I always love reading a bit about my southern roots, although I'm a CA girl born and bred!!!

10:10 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

That is wonderful! We had similar upbringing, only Dad grew corn which we had to hoe the weeds that the cultivator didn't catch.
My job was also to cut all the weeds in the fence lines, doing the fence along the road first.
I'll post hoeing the corn someday.

Hemp weeds (wild Midwest pot plants) grew wild and that all had to be hoed, pulled, or cut down with a corn knife.
I never did smoke that weed, Mom said only gangsters in NYC did that. We tried a lot of the other weeds though.

We are eating at the church tonight. Fried catfish with hush puppies, fries, and a nice salad. Oh yes, dessert.
Is that eating out?.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Tammy said...

A new respect was born for you as I read this post...anyone that can work in tobacco on a summer day is "good people"!!
ahhh...but when fall gets there...and the tobacco is curing...I moved away from KY to TX for 5 years when we moved back I noticed the rich tobacco smell...I had not noticed it before!
I've heard the older generation say that about AC too...they may have a point...but I am spoiled...I can't help it!!

10:44 AM  
Blogger Ralph's Homespun Headlines said...

For years I resisted air conditioning. Finally, had it put in a couple of years ago. So I guess that makes me one of the spoiled people.
Blogger - I have been having trouble posting pictures lately. Seems like times it has a mind of its own.

11:14 AM  
Blogger Cheyenne said...

My parents in their later years didn't use their AC either. I remember when I was a kid we never had to lock our doors ever. Then when I got married and we didn't have AC, we would leave the back door open and put a fan there to pull the hot air out, and hopefully the cool air in from another open window. I keep all doors and windows locked now. And the AC is on all the time.
And about Blogger took me many hours before it would let me pull some photos onto my blog. Grrrrrrr!

2:15 PM  
Blogger Mike ( ex scientia, veritas ) said...

I remember those days well! And $0.21 gallon gas. We are spoiled - 3/4ths of the world cooks on charcoal.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Raggedy said...

That was a great post!
What wonderful memories...
I started my life in the South and my parents are from the South. My Dad does not like A/C either...
You brought up memories for me too.
Diggin up green peanuts and eating them...I remember the cotton fields,and BBQ...I miss the down south BBQ!
Have a wonderful day!
(=':'=) huge huggles
(")_ (")Š from da Raggedy one

3:12 PM  
Blogger Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Good post Rachel...we learn a little more about you each time you post.

Jimmy told me a story about hoeing corn. His brother was asked to chop the corn and he really didn't want to, but being the good son that he was he went about chopping the corn. After he had chopped several rows his dad came to see how he was doing. Was his dad in for a shock! He asked his son what he thought he was doing and his son said chopping the corn just like you asked. I don't know if he got a switching, but he probably did...
You see he was chopping the corn and leaving the weeds.

AC has been really appreciated at my house at night. We are usually out during the heat of the day, but I need my AC to sleep comfortably. Today we came in early around 3pm because the temps were already reaching 100º. Besides I wanted to come home to fix some bacon for Bacon/tomato sandwiches. Yum

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Jerry said...

We never had air conditioning until we moved to the new house in 1968. Our old house had windows on each end of the house which created a good cross breeze. But I remember staying outdoors a lot as a kid.

Good memories.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

I remember life before AC. I live in Houston, so it got plenty hot down here. We had an attic fan that ran almost day and night. Our bed was under the window and we would open the window at night and the attic fan would pull in the air. It felt so good back then. I don't remember how hot it was because that is all we knew. I am also spoiled to the air-conditioning now too. Thanks for the story.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Cliff Morrow said...

Our house didn't have ac as a kid. We have an unfinished basement and we had the folks put twin beds down there for my brother and I. Always great sleeping compared to upstairs.
Yep, we're spoiled. Now I can't sleep unless it's cool and dry. That makes it hard to go camping.

5:39 AM  
Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

It is interesting about the Tobacco...that gummy thing...I can remember sometimes if I left a cigarette burning in and ashtray and it finally burned out on that little ledge thing that use to be on so very many ashtrays...there would be this sticky residue...And I always wondered about that..I now realize from reading your post today something I had never realized before...Tobacco IS Gummy/Sticky! Is that part of the Nicotine?
Do you think it is hotter now Rachel? I really do. I know here in L.A. we never used to hunidity...and now, it is terrible with humidity...!
Like you, I don't know what I would do without my AC...Especially with my lung problems...but even without that problem...I am definintely spoiled!

12:23 PM  
Blogger The Four Bears in the Woods said...

Boy did this bring back memories for me too! I grew up in the tobacco fields. When I got old enough I helped in it too. It seems I spent most of my life in the fields and in the winter in the barn stripping tobacco. It was a family thing... The whole family went, even my mom. We would get up at daylight and return late at night where my mom would try to cook something for us 5 kids and her and my dad. I don't know how she did it but she did for many years. I worked in tobacco for a while even after I married. My husband also helped.

We always left the doors open at night and had a window fan. It wasn't until later that we got a room air conditioner. Since I married I have always had the air conditioner. I don't know what I would do without it! I am spoiled also!

I sure did love this post and I think it is great when I hear of someone else who experienced a lot of the things I did.

Mama Bear

6:30 PM  
Anonymous cassie-b said...

I'm happy to report that I'm one of the spoiled ones.

I'm not fond of air conditioning and having to close up the house, but I'm even less fond of sweating.


8:07 AM  
Blogger Britmum said...

Rachael I really enjoyed your post. You remember so much detail and its wonderful too read.

Gosh I don't know how people would cope without AC now.

Take care and have a lovely weekend. xx

11:02 AM  

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