My kids are out of school and we are enjoying the outdoor weather. I love summer. I just don’t love it as much as fall and spring because there is a big difference between warm weather and scorching hot weather. Mark Chesnutt’s song “It’s Too Hot to Fish and Too Hot for Golf” seems to define the last few summers in Georgia.
A few years ago, I travelled to France for a business trip. I love French food because they cook with real butter, but I also love the architecture. One of the places I visited was the palace at Versailles which is absolutely gorgeous with its vast gardens and quarters fit for a king. It was, of course, built to be a hunting lodge for King Louis XIII and his buddies, but it turned into a palace. I’m guessing there was a female involved.
As I walked through this palace that would make the White House look like a small duplex, I thought it was good to be the king. The famous room called the Hall of Mirrors was incredible and I found myself pausing to think about how that’s where the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I was signed. The tour was incredible and I tried to imagine what it would be like to live in such a palace, but then I realized I have something far grander that all of the kings and other royal family members never had — I have air conditioning.
Have you ever heard of Willis Carrier and Stuart Cramer? I must admit that I never learned about them in school, but I’m proposing a national holiday to be held in their honor every summer. They are credited as the founders of modern day air conditioning. Most of us know that the Wright Brothers built the first airplane, Thomas Edison invented the light bulb and Truett Cathy invented the chicken sandwich. I think it’s time that we all should salute Carrier and Cramer the next time we change our air filter and Freon.
There’s no doubt that air conditioning has produced some negative consequences such as children playing more indoors, but I’m not willing to go back to the “good ole days.” For me, despite all of the negative news I’m receiving 24 hours per day via television, radio, internet and iPhone — these are the “good ole days.”
In his book “The Rational Optimist,” author Matt Ridley states that the vast majority of Americans in poverty now have running water, indoor toileting, a refrigerator, electricity and air conditioning. Just think that the wealthiest individuals, the kings, the queens and other industrialists a century ago could never have dreamed of such luxuries. That’s not to suggest our world doesn’t have its share of problems. We’ve just raised the bar higher. It’s very tempting to stay inside on the sizzling hot days of summer when the air conditioning unit is pumping out cool air. If you want to step outside and even step back in time, Shiloh United Methodist Church will host its annual Camp Meeting under its outdoor arbor for the 146th consecutive year from June 19-24 in Burwell. Services will be held daily at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. except for the final day which will be held at 11 a.m. followed by a covered dish lunch.
I grew up going to the Shiloh Camp Meeting with my grandparents. Unfortunately, I can’t recall a single sermon preached — but I’ll always remember my grandmother Thelma Garrett using one of those wood-handle paper fans with a funeral home advertisement on one side and a picture of Jesus surrounded by sheep on the other side to keep me cool.
“The fans are still being passed out,” said Linda McCray, who has been a member of Shiloh UMC for the last 51 years. “Just a few years ago, ceiling fans were installed inside the arbor to keep everyone cooler in memory of Charles Craven who was a long standing member of the church.”
Merle Haggard wrote and recorded the song “Are the Good Times Really Over for Good?” when the United States was in a tough recession in the early 1980s. His song seems to capture the mood of the country today. As for me, the good times are just beginning because I’m concluding this story that I’m writing outside in 90-degree heat and walking inside where there’s air conditioning.
Garrett is a Carrollton resident and businessman. You can read more of his columns at joegarrett1.wordpress.com or contact him at email@example.com.