Like the Devil’s Hounds Panting…

It’s a been a little over a week since the Eskridge household has been living, working and playing without the luxury of air-conditioning. To be sure, it has been a little on the rough side as we have easily hit the 100 degree mark a few times already and it’s just the beginning of summer. However, I have trudged through countless, sweaty, mind-altering, almost-fainting, hours in the studio getting ready for the big ATHFEST artist’s market this coming up weekend, which will of course be hotter than hell too! All this has prompted me to wonder how the heck my parents and grandparents made it through these summers. I grew up in North Carolina and I remember hot summers, but Georgia heat is something fierce. Like the Devil’s hounds are panting right down the Atlanta Highway. My folks and their folks and their folks before them made it through like many others still do to this day near and far, they sweat and fan themselves. I imagine my dad as a kid playing with his friends and becoming overwhelmed with heat so they go down to the soda shop, grab a cold coke and watch a movie at the Rogers Theater.  I’ve embraced the heat, or rather accepted it, this past week. Taking more breaks than normal, we set up a couple of our kiddie pools the other night to cool off. Lounging in 1.5 foot water, citronella torches to keep the mosquitoes at bay, cold beer in hand, dogs and cats laying with us, we watched “I Know What You Did Last Summer” on the big screen projected on the back of the studio. Thank you AC for breaking down and allowing us to have a fun night and reminding me to not take anything for granted.

Here’s a brief nutshell history of AC:
The history of air conditioning is apparently a long one. Very basic techniques date back to ancient Egypt. Water-soaked cloth or reeds would be hung in doorways and windows so that when a breeze would blow, the air inside would be cooled. Ancient Romans routed aqueducts through their homes (circulating water creates an evaporative effect which then cools). Fast forward through Benjamin Franklin and John Hadley discovering that evaporated volatile liquids can freeze water and Dr. Gorrie blowing air over ice for his hospital, we get to Willis Carrier. In 1902 this guy invented the first modern air conditioner. Carrier worked for a lithography company and his invention was intended to control temperature and humidity for a production problem at the company. Little did he know that his invention would be scaled down and installed in most residential homes of the modern world by the 1950s.

“The Long Weight” (part A of diptych)
oil on wood panel
9×12 inches

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