- Last Updated on 08:08 AM 07/25/12
- BY Doug Ford
The “Dog Days” are here again, the never-seeming-to-end summer days of 90 plus degrees, sultry nights and – for some people – droopy hairdos.
According to most accounts, the name Dog Days comes from a belief that Sirius, also called the Dog Star by being close to the sun, was responsible for the hot weather.
I’ll admit I’ve grown a little soft in my old age and a little more appreciative of air conditioning.
My house didn’t have air conditioning of any kind until the late 1960s, and I remember the nights where we left our front and back doors open for ventilation with only a hooked screen door between my family and the great outdoors.
I had two windows open in my bedroom for fresh air, and I was lulled to sleep by the sounds of crickets, frogs and the occasional owl, with only the occasional impromptu Saturday night drag race on 501 interrupting the solitude.
My summer days were filled with visits to town, where I would pick up books at the Carrington Memorial Library and bring them home to read in my hammock under my big shade tree in the front yard.
The soles of my bare feet would be black and tough as shoe leather from forays across hot highway pavement or sharp gravel, and I only would wear shoes when playing ball or going to town or church.
Speaking of church, the high ceilings of Shady Grove United Methodist did little to capture the cool breezes fostered by the shade trees surrounding the church.
Our large, stained glass windows would be propped open to capture any air available, and members of the congregation could be seen stirring the air with cardboard fans to keep cool.
Those same fans would come in handy when swatting bothersome insects, including the wasps that regularly attended church with us, sometimes swooping down from the ceiling on bombing runs through the pews.
With thoughts of a visit to grandma’s house after church, I would bound down the steps into my family car and change into my shorts and T-shirt as we bounced down country roads toward our final destination.
Once there, and following a quick hug from Grandma Rogers, I would grab the wicker basket and go to the chicken coop to collect eggs.
I could barely wait to finish lunch before my cousins and I would go to the barn in search of a new litter of kittens and play games by jumping from one hay-bale to another.
We would venture to the pond and fish for small mouth bass and crappie before getting the dreaded announcement from my mom that it was time to go home…and start the same ritual again next week.
I’ve said before that being childlike is not necessarily being childish, and that lesson holds steady throughout our lives.
We should all be so fortunate as to have those good memories.
I’m lucky to have them, and to those unfortunate enough not to, allow me to share mine with you.