Funny Things from Yesterday: The ceiling fan

Robert N. Tidwell, Sr.

I have written before about modern trends and old traditions. This article is about a ceiling fan and two or three helium-filled balloons.

The first ceiling fans that I remember were the ones at People Drug Store. (This, incidentally, was the store where I started my pharmacy career.) There was a soda fountain, little tables and chairs with round seats and a bar with bar stools. You could have a coke, a double dip ice cream cone or a root beer float. The ceiling fan blowing air down on you would make you cool and comfortable.

Most houses now have ceiling fans. If your home has a wood-burning heater and a ceiling fan you will have a very comfortable room. You will also stay physically fit splitting your firewood and bringing the wood in.

In the years that I served on the city council we had special meetings, some were statewide and some were nationwide. One year in May, Rudene and I were in Mobile for the Alabama League of Cities meeting and we were staying at the Admiral Semmes Hotel. Each room had a ceiling fan, which made it very pleasant. But ceiling fans can be a problem if you are not careful with them.

The first night we were there, we had a welcome banquet and part of the decoration was helium-filled balloons. After the dinner the balloons were given to anyone that would like to have then. Rudene got two or three for our little granddaughter, Leanna.

When we arrived in our hotel room, I cautioned Granny (the name that Leanna calls her) to tie the balloons securely to a chair arm to keep them from getting loose and caught in the ceiling fan.

All went well until four o’clock in the morning. We were awakened by a very loud noise: flap, flap, flap! I turned on the lamp switch and was standing on the floor wide awake before the bulb lit, ready to do battle with an intruder.

Then I saw the problem. Granny’s string of balloons had gotten loose and was wound around the fan shaft. The fan blades were flapping the balloons against the ceiling.

After 30 minutes of unwinding string from the fan shaft, I was back in bed, catnapping with one eye closed and the other eye on the string of balloons, now tied more securely to the chair post.

Modern trends like helium-filled balloons and old traditional items like ceiling fans just don’t mix too well. Advice from a person with experience.

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