One of the most gripping first lines I've ever read in a novel is in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Cien Anos or 100 Years of Solitude:
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.
Today's Morning Edition story on icehouses in San Antonio, Texas, was at least as evocative as that opening sentence. The music, interviews and storytelling were so vivid, that I actually felt cooler, and happier as I listened. It also made me think of what we've lost with central air conditioning and freezers. The heat of summer used to pull us together as communities. We gathered in shady parks, around hand-cranked ice-cream makers, and, as I learned this morning, at ice houses. Now the sweltering weather often chases us apart, to our own private sources of cool.