Danny Tyree: Do you have a favorite story from heat waves past?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Much of the nation is experiencing a prolonged heat wave, so of course your humble columnist counterintuitively conjures up WARM MEMORIES to comfort himself.

When I was in college, I sometimes supplemented my income by helping my late father with deliveries for Easy Pay Tire Store (the tires-and-appliances store where he worked for the Ritter family).

One delivery should have been routine (installing an air conditioner for a countryfied elderly couple I had known since my high school job at Sharp’s Drive-In Market), but we wound up in hot water.

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(Yes, I perceived them as an “elderly couple”; but with the perspective of another four decades, I smack my forehead and declare, “Those codgers were pretty cool and in the prime of life! Ow! I threw my shoulder out of whack while smacking my forehead! Fetch me some liniment, dagnabbit!”)

Despite the sort of sultry summers testified to by all those southern courtroom scenes in movies, this was the couple’s first air conditioner. Scientific marvels are usually good news; but unfortunately, our arrival was an unmitigated UNPLEASANT SURPRISE for the wife.

You see, her chauvinistic husband had the audacity to make the purchase without consulting her. When we arrived with the appliance, she was way less interested in the specs for the BTUs than in finding someone’s B-U-T-T to kick.

She (call her Mrs. H.) experienced a meltdown (not the seasonal kind) and read Mr. H. the Riot Act. (Try reading the Riot Act with profuse sweat dripping all over the ink.)

It was an extravagant waste of hard-earned money or an insult to their pioneer forebears or the death knell of the screen window industry or the Devil’s Toolbox or SOMETHING, but she was violently opposed to the newfangled contraption.

(I’m glad Mr. H. didn’t tell her the full story – how he DROVE to Easy Pay in a horseless carriage, instead of relying on smoke signals or a messenger pigeon.)

Mr. H. assured us we could ignore her histrionics and proceed with the installation. Just as we were about to hoist the air conditioner into the window from the yard, she proclaimed from indoors, “I’m going to cut loose through this window with my shotgun!”

Dad and I looked at one another with matching “deer in the headlights” expressions. Our minds were racing to remember if we lived in a “stand your ground – even if you’d be better off sipping a glass of refreshing lemonade, old woman” state.

Then Mr. H. decided to pour gasoline on the fire by casually calling to Mrs. H. from the yard, “Ah’ll be expectin’ mah danner (dinner) in about an ire (hour)!”

Dad and I probably owed Stretch Armstrong ROYALTIES for the way we lifted the air conditioner into the window, leaning WAY out of buckshot range.

With immeasurable trepidation, we entered the house to do the final touches. By the time Dad had the appliance plugged in and putting forth its frosty goodness, the lady of the house was intrigued, delighted and treating the air conditioner like a best friend she hadn’t seen since grade school!

We skedaddled before the feuding couple could employ the “Are you as turned on as I am?” movie cliche.

Do you have your own anecdotes about summertime joys or hardships? I’d love to get your emails.

But consult your spouse! PLEASE consult your spouse!

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at tyreetyrades@aol.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”