Yesterday I went to town at 7am to help set up for our annual barbecue. It was already 81 degrees!! The gardening forums are filled with complaints about plants wilting and insects attacking. No one wants to go outside after 10 am. It's Awful August!!
However, having the hobby that I do, my first thoughts this morning were about our ancestors. How in the world did they cope with awful August? They didn't have air conditioners. They didn't have cars to whisk them quickly from one place to another. Most didn't have ice readily available. Other than cold water and shade, I can't really think of many comforts they might have had to help them cope.
My mother talked about sleeping on the porch or even in the front yard on hot summer evenings. She said it helped a little, but then you had to worry about bugs and creatures of the night. And of course you had to be "dressed". Modesty wasn't limited to daylight.
That's another thing to consider. My mother's generation, and certainly those before hers, didn't run around half naked like our current generation does. That must have made tolerating the heat even more difficult. Even early beach scenes show women wearing more clothing than most would currently wear to WalMart.
Fans may have helped our ancestors, but most were paper and operated by hand! I can even remember paper fans being included with Bibles in the backs of church pews. Often the paper fans were advertisements by local businesses. I used to carry one of those folded fans in my purse and use it at ballgames or other stuffy, crowded situations. Might not be a bad idea to find another one.
Ice was a luxury for a time, because it had to be purchased and didn't last very long. Even after refrigerators became common household items the ice compartments were tiny. A machine didn't pump out unlimited quantities of the stuff.
Surely our ancestors didn't travel much during August. Can you imagine going to town in a wagon in this heat?? Even going in an early car wouldn't have been pleasant at 30mph without air conditioning.
I'll try to remember how lucky I am during the next few weeks. I'll try to be grateful for ice and air conditioning and cars and even shorts and sandals. If that doesn't help I'll repeat my grandmother's most oft-quoted saying, "This too, shall pass!"