Thursday, April 18, 2013

Throwback Thursday: A Nighttime Ritual

Wordless Wednesday: Jarritos, a brand of Mexican soft drinks that I remember asking for as a child, usually when I was at my grandparents' house. I've introduced the kiddos to them, but they prefer Tutti Fruiti (Fruit Punch) to the Strawberry.

The last few days have been hotter than normal. I have been going most of the day without turning on the air conditioner, but before the children get out of school I crank it on. Yes, I do it to avoid their cries of, "it's so hot!"

And most of the time when I turn on the air conditioner, I actually think about my grandmother and how she went all of her life, except for part of her last year, with no air conditioning. And yes, she lived in Texas, south Texas. Some times I think I couldn't survive like that (and so I am obviously "fitted" for this time in history and not before). But then I am reminded of the summer days I spent at her house and how I did "survive."

My grandparents' house sat about a block from the neighborhood Catholic Church and a mere three houses down from railroad tracks that trains used ALL the time, day and night. If you hit the street at the wrong time, you could be waiting a long time to get to the other side because of a train crossing.

But it was those summer nights that I recall most vividly. All the windows would be open to let in the slightest breeze that might be stirring and cicadas chirped out their love song to each other in what seemed to be a defeaning roar as I struggled to get cool enough to fall asleep. And as I laid there, a train would thunder past, shaking the windows and the house itself. I would lay there for what seemed hours, waiting for a gentle breeze to cool me down. Eventually, I would hear the leaves start to rustle, drowning out the cicadas, and making the curtains dance in the moonlight before my eyes. If I focused on the sound of the leaves long enough, I would soon realize that the one sheet I covered up with at night wasn't as oppressive as it had been only a few moments before. And then within what seemed only a few moments, I was cold enough to need the sheet to keep me warm.

Every summer we visited I looked forward to that nightly ritual, amazed at how I fell asleep and slept so soundly.

Now when the house is open and the breeze makes the curtains dance, and there's even a train, although not as close as at my grandparents' house, I am reminded of those summer nights. I long to sleep by the window, feel the breeze, and find the peace I found all those years ago on those hot summer days.
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¡Hasta la proxima vez!

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