It’s not that our parents didn’t love us. And it isn’t that they didn’t know any better. It just wasn’t something that anyone thought about too much. The fact that it was “hotter than 40 hells” outside just didn’t matter. Back then, no one really had air conditioning in their homes. There were lots of window fans, that I have talked about previously and occasionally you would find a friend that had one of those old window units. You know the ones I’m talking about. Dads would install them once things got really hot… usually in the family room. They never seemed to fit all that well… and usually you’d have to prop the outside compressor part up with a scrap piece of 2×4 that was laying around from some long ago project that never quite got finished. Even at that, once it was installed, you could forget watching TV or having a conversation. When it was set on “high” and “max cool”, you might as well have have been standing on the tarmac of the local airport watching 747’s take off. All you could do is sit there, be cool and smile at each other.
But that isn’t what this is about… this is about being outside… in the sweltering heat… feeling like you can hardly take another step without melting into a puddle. But we had a solution… and we didn’t have to leave the yard to do it… we could just run back to the little storage building in the back yard and grab the water hose… not the old one that you ran over with the lawn mower… the other “good” one…. and the thing that made it all worth while. The thing that you would provide you the only relief you were going to see that day…. the sprinkler.
There were two types to choose from… the oscillating type and the whirling type. The oscillating ones were a piece of aluminum shaped in an arch with lots of tiny holes along the top. It would shoot the water, I guessing a couple of miles up into the air (well, maybe not quite that high but you know what I mean) and would slowly move back and forth. The whirling ones were a three armed engineering masterpiece that seemed to spray water in every conceivable direction at the same time as it spun around in circles.
It really didn’t matter which one you had… we would run and jump and play and slide and laugh… it was the best feeling ever… and then, once you were done, to sit in the sun and just let it dry you off without using a towel… could anything possibly be more refreshing than that?