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Open those windows

By John Toth The Bulletin

There are a few weeks in the spring and fall when we can open our windows along the Texas Gulf Coast and enjoy free air conditioning.

I always celebrate this time of the year by opening as many windows as possible. It’s like a gift from Mother Nature. No air conditioner or heater is needed, the electric meter is spinning

slower, and we feel the gentle breeze as it flows through the house.

That is, if you have no allergies, which I don’t. I’m very fortunate that my ancestors worked that problem out before I was born, which allows me to fully enjoy this wonderful time of the year. Open windows (with screens on them) are the rule of the day until it gets too warm and humid.

This longing to just let the breeze drift through the house has been with me since childhood, when my parents opened our windows in the room we lived in Budapest, Hungary. My father used to open the huge panes after another cold winter and somewhat cold spring, and we inhaled all that fresh air (or as fresh as it got). Both my parents smoked, so I welcomed the opportunity to breathe some air minus the nicotine and who knows what else. The only problem I had was that the window did not have a screen, and bugs could fly in. I kept my eye on the opening to make sure that none did. Some must have, but for the most part, they stayed away, probably smelling the remnants of cigarette smoke on the windows and walls. My parents didn’t know back in those days that smoking was harmful. They both died at age 60 from complications caused by cigarettes. That was just way too young. I never picked up the habit, but the open-window concept has stuck with me ever since. It makes sense, and it’s free. One of my favorite activities this time of the year is walking to anywhere. It’s great exercise and not as boring as walking on a treadmill in the gym. Need to check the post office box?

Let’s just walk over there. Need to drop off a car at the shop? We’ll walk back - no need for a courtesy ride. I recently got a new “smart” watch to see how many steps I am taking while walking in God’s weather. The old watch stopped working after eight or so years, and I had to get a replacement. It’s the Chinese knockoff version of the expensive watches, but they work well enough.

This one counts the steps I take and measures a bunch of other things accurately, hooks up to my phone to duplicate functions that I rarely use, and even tells time.

It also has a blood pressure app, which is so much that if that was my correct pressure, I’d be in the hospital fighting for my life.

Over 3,000 steps to the post office. That’s a good walk on a nice day. There and back satisfies the 7,000 steps I want to take each day, or around there.

Driving around is not as healthy as walking. But when I do drive this time of the year, I roll the windows down in the car and turn off the A/C. That’s how I used to drive when I lived in a part of the country where there are four seasons. In Texas, we only have two: Summer and “almost summer.”

There is no better feeling than having that spring breeze pass through the car. It’s good for the soul. It’s revitalizing. No A/C can compete with it.

Sharon, my wife, sometimes rolls the window down to dry her long hair. Why not use nature’s own hair dryer? It’s there for free.

The best car A/C is 4-60, we used to joke when we were much younger and driving without A/C. “That’s four windows down at 60 mph.” Back in those days, we were breaking the speed limit, which was 55 mph. Now, 60 mph is nothing.

Yes, windows open - windows rolled down; enjoy dear readers with no allergies. (Sorry about that to readers with allergies that make breathing laborious and pollen the ultimate enemy.)

It won’t be long when A/C will again rule all indoors and going outside will require tackling the hot temperatures of the Texas Gulf Coast. But that’s O.K., also. Summer is supposed to be hot around here, just like winter is supposed to be like “almost summer.”

I feel the breeze coming through the room as I am writing this. It’s a wonderful time of the year. Open those windows right now. You’ll be glad you did. Or, wait until the morning when it’s cooler.


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