There was no air conditioning, central, window or otherwise. There were no large, five-speed oscillating fans. The one 12-inch fan in the house, hummed like a diesel and was in the kitchen where it kept Mom cool while she was preparing our meal. Dinner included a cool cucumber soup, vareneki and peach pie – - cucumbers individually pulled off the vines in the garden and plump, ripe peaches picked from our fruit trees. The oven, running all afternoon, added to the oppressive heat in the house.
We had one TV, with one channel, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Hockey Night in Canada (Saturday Nights) was one of the few programs worthy of watching. And, in any event, watching TV during the day was taboo. We had one radio station, and it was country. (So no radio.) There was no internet. No Playstation. No iPhones, iTunes, iPods, iPads, iAnthing. No desktops or laptops. No Barnes & Noble, Borders, Waldenbooks or Amazon. No Kindles, Nooks or Readers. The Public Library was miles away and I had never set my foot in it. We had a camera but that was off limits and of little interest.
The chores were done. The cows milked , the chickens and turkeys fed. The lawn was cut. The fruit trees picked. The garden weeded. (Not by me.) The Alfalfa was cut, turned and now at the mercy of Mother Nature, with the Kanigan men on high alert for unpredictable warm summer rain showers that would set back the harvest.
And as late afternoon arrived, my refuge was the basement. Dark. Cool. Quiet. My reading place. The basement cupboard contained a potpourri of novels acquired by my Mother and long since gathering dust. I can’t remember a single title. And, it didn’t matter. I’d dissolve into the book. A magical hour spent living in the mind and the place of another.
Today offers much. Yet, I can’t seem to get back my hour of uninterrupted, gadget-free, reading time in the basement. To just Read.