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The simple sound of a box fan...

If you were asked to name the sweetest sound you can remember from childhood, what would it be? Perhaps it was the crack of a baseball bat at spring practice. Or maybe it was the sound of sleigh bells on a cold winter night. For me, it was the sound of a box fan in the dead middle of summer.

My grandmother lived in a small home in the country. It was a simple place, but I enjoyed many childhood adventures there. My cousin and I would often play in the fields surrounding my grandmother's house. As best I can remember, there were only 2 problems we encountered. The first problem was sand spurs, those prickly little balls of spiny bristles that grow on certain weeds in sandy areas. Trip and fall on these things, and you would be limping for the next 3 hours.

The other problem was the heat, especially in the summer. Grandma didn't have central air, so the house could get really hot in a big hurry. After a full day of sweating in the sun, you could come inside and enjoy a full night of sweating by the glow of the TV. To combat the heat, my grandmother had an arsenal of box fans. She took great care to strategically place each fan to maximize the breeze on my little sleeping pad. Believe me when I tell you, there is no sound on Earth more soothing than the hum of a box fan on a hot summer night. I have never slept better, before or since.

These fond memories came rushing back to me in the wake of 1996's Hurricane Fran. I had just arrived back home to assist my dad in the post-storm clean-up on the family farm. Naturally, temperatures soared into the upper 90's under full September sunshine. With very little cloud cover, the heat was relentless. And when the day's work was done, I wanted nothing more than to go to bed.

With no power, the prospects for a comfortable night's sleep were grim. Thankfully, my dad had a small generator which powered a few lights and a couple of box fans. As miserable as the day had been, all I really needed was the simple sound of that little fan humming. My mind faded into bliss by that gentle breeze, and for a moment I was a kid again.

But I slept like a baby...

(Jerry is now on facebook! Become a member of our online weather team by clicking on this link:  Chief Meteorlogist Jerry Jackson)

By: Jerry Jackson