This July night is cool...and quiet, too, except for the child size snoring of Gabe in the room across the hall. Gabe and Abbie are spending the night; Abbie has the big bed all to herself because Gabe prefers the rugged individualism of the thin foam mattress of the cot.
When Ben was a baby, he slept in the wooden playpen that had been mine when we visited my folks' house. It is a tribute to the peaceful flexibility of babies that he slept contentedly on that old hard thing. He graduated from the playpen to a cot in our room; my grandfather's wooden Army cot, still solid after all those years, smelling of the basement on which it had been stored for decades and faintly of the moth balls that preserved the ancient woolen Army blanket that acted as mattress. It was low to the ground and I do not recall him ever falling out of it.
When Grandma and Grandpa installed central air, the behemoth window unit traveled back up to Orland Park in the back of our Dodge Dart. In my mind it looms large as our refrigerator, but surely that's an exaggeration of my memory. My father installed it in the living room wall. We could have cool air, but not much and not too cool. All the doors on the house were to be closed so the cool air could be conserved and confined to the kitchen, dining room and living room. At night we opened the doors for circulation after the air conditioner was turned off.
Our neighbors in Orland Park had a swimming pool. We could only see a corner of it through my mom's flower bed and our neighbor's shrubbery, but sound travelled just fine across the boundary lines and there was many a wistful and wasted glance in the direction of all the shrieking and splashing. Even though Orland Park flooded a flat lot for wintertime skating, there was no public pool in the town. Visits to Missouri meant pumping up inner tubes on a hot afternoon and walking down a mown path through the pasture to our biggest farm pond (christened Lake Ginger in honor of my mom). The water was bath warm from the sun for the first foot, but down below where our feet and the little fishies swam, it was calm and cool. These outings were marred only by efforts to exit the pond without becoming mired in the muck or squishing a dozen stricken frogs. Even better was summer vacation, no matter where we travelled because there was always the chance the motel we pulled into might have a POOL!
That's the coolest spot of all.