Pioneers didn’t have our luxuries

I admire our country's 19th century pioneers for a lot of reasons. Facing down wild Indians, working hard and plowing with mules, cooking on a wood stove, communicating without Facebook and otherwise living life large.

But stop some day when it's 105 degrees outside and wonder how they ever made do without air conditioning. All I can say is I'm pretty weak compared to my forefathers.

This past week or so it became clear just how spoiled I am. First I cranked up the old evaporative coolers at the Merchants Building at the fairgrounds. Those things don't work real great during the day no matter how well you have them working. Vendors get a little cranky after 4-5 hours greeting the public with sweat dripping off their brow.

Fortunately I didn't actually have to stay in the barn myself and could sneak home to my refrigerated air conditioning for a nap. There must have been some bad Karma in that act though, as my precious home cooling system began to act up before the fair had ended.

My first clue was when the dog that I've never seen pant in 14 years was huffing steam like an Iron Horse locomotive when I came home. My second clue was when my wife began greeting me in her underwear when I came home for lunch.

I figured the filter was dirty and the thing had frozen up because of the humidity. I changed the filter, shut the unit off and told my wife to open a few windows and fight the urge to stand in front of them in her underwear. Then I got back in my air-conditioned truck and went back to my office where the AC was working just fine.

Somehow or another the faithful New Mexico breezes began to fail us almost as soon as I settled atop the sheets on my bed. Pioneers would have slept on the porch, but pioneers knew they would be sleeping on the porch and screened it in to avoid being eaten alive by the mosquitoes.

After one attempt to recharge the system we learned that the patient was terminal. That's when I really started to sweat — when those estimates were placed in my hand.

I asked myself what would Kit Carson have done had his log cabin become too hot to live in. No doubt he would have packed up and headed to the shady side of the mountain.

That's one option I suppose. I guess another option would be to head to an air-conditioned theater and watch a movie about pioneers in the 19th century. Or maybe a cool library to study preserving food and human life without refrigeration.

I'm weak and obviously not pioneer material anymore.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: karlterry@yucca.net

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