Richard pulled into his drive way and turned off the lights on his truck.  He braced himself to step from the cool air condition of his vehicle to the hot and muggy air of July in the southeast.   He fumbled with his keys at the front door looking forward  to stepping into his home and feeling the cool tropical breezes provided by his powerful air conditioning super unit.  He finally turned the key in the lock opening the front door.  But, instead of the arctic air he expected he felt a blast of hot air hit his face.  If he thought it was hot outdoors then it was absolutely scorching indoors.  Why were his anticipated cool, tropical breezes replaced by jet streams from a blast furnace?  Apparently the air conditioner had broken down sometime earlier in the day.

Richards sat at a desk all day, but his father was a heating and cooling specialist.  He was, in fact, so good that, when Richard was in grade school all his friends said that Jack Frost went to Richard’s dad for advice.  Later, while in high school and college, Richard had worked for his dad and knew some things about fixing an air conditioner, so he felt confident that, whatever the issue was with his unit, he could handle it.

The heating and cooling unit sat behind the house in total darkness.  He groaned, wishing now that he had repaired the broken light fixture on the back porch.  He didn’t want to try to fix the unit in darkness so he braved the heat of the house to find a flashlight and grab his tool box.  The inside  the house made the 106 degree heat outside almost seem cool. Turning on the flashlight Richard headed around to the back of the house.  The light of the flashlight he had managed to find proved almost ineffective in the blackness.  He was half seeing and half feeling his way forward when his foot came down on something soft.   He heard a cross between a meow and a yawl and realized the neighbors cat had managed to find its way under his foot.  Losing his balance and tumbling forward, he came to rest in what felt like soft leaves.  Using his flashlight (that was more like a glow stick) to inspect his surroundings he found he had landed in the middle of a poison ivy patch that he hadn’t yet cut down and was growing up the side of his house.   Of all the rotten luck.  He had horrible allergies to poison ivy, that is why he had avoided it in the first place.  He stood up and brushed himself off, realizing in the process that he was no longer holding onto his flashlight.  There it was in the middle of the poison ivy.  He gingerly reached for it, silently muttering uncomplimentary comments about the neighbors and their cat.

Richard itched already.  He shrugged it off.  Fixing the air conditioner was his top priority, he would worry about the itching later.  He made it back to the cooling unit and took a look–well, as good a look as he could take considering his flashlight wasn’t much better than one lit birthday candle in the midst of all the darkness.  Kneeling close to the unit Richard thought he saw the problem and decided to fix it himself rather than call his dad.  He pulled out a couple of tools and did the best he could in the dark.  He tightened the last bolt just as his flashlight quit.  Frustrated, he threw it into the bushes.  He heard another meow/yawl.  He smiled in satisfaction.

He stumbled inside managing to trip into the poison ivy once again, this time without help from the cat (though he swore he heard loud purring sounds after he fell).  He braved the heat that met him at the front door and turned on the switch for the air conditioner.  He heard a rattle, a sputter, a mechanical cough–and then nothing.  He mentally reviewed all his options and decided that calling his father to come fix it ranked at #1.

He reached inside his pocket to pull out the cell phone.  No cell phone.  Just then he heard a ringing outdoors.  He went outside just in time to see the phone light flashing in the patch of poison ivy.  Of all the rotten luck!  He walked towards the phone,  hoping the light would stay on until he picked it up.  With disregard for his allergies Richard plunged his already itchy hands into the ivy and flipped (it was very old) the phone open.  “Hello, hello?!” He said.  Though he can’t prove it, Richard again swore he heard loud purring on the other end and then the line went dead.

He didn’t bother going back inside.  He punched in his dads speed dial number and in less than 30 seconds was explaining all his woes to his father.  His father listened sympathetically, making the appropriate consolation noises.  After hanging up his dad picked out the right tools and took his biggest light with him.

Upon arrival at Richards house, his dad pulled out his tools and told Richard to carry the massive light.  Richard found a place to plug it in.  He looked for a light switch, but finding none he finally asked his dad to turn the light on for him.  His dad reached over and flipped the switch.  “Why hadn’t he seen it?” wondered Richard.  But he was just happy that they now had a light that, not only could they see to repair the air conditioning unit, but put out enough light to make the neighborhood think morning had arrived already.  With the bright light shining on the air conditioning unit it took no time at all for Richard and his dad to fix it.  Thanking him profusely from afar (he didn’t want to get poison ivy on his dad) Richard went inside to bathe in calamine lotion and look on Google to see if cats were allergic to poison ivy too.

“Opening your word brings light to the blind and understanding to the simple.  Psalm 119:130

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