Summer has hit with gusto, and suddenly we almost hold our breath as we dash from a cool car to an air conditioned building, hoping our lungs don’t fail us when we breathe in that scorching air.
I’m certain there is a story behind the term, ‘dog days of summer’. Don’t know the origin, but I can no doubt come up with my own theory.
For instance, do you have a visual of your dog lying on her/his back in the middle of your bed with feet sticking out cooling her/his belly under the ceiling fan? Admittedly, that is the pose I would like to imitate when temperatures reach 95+ degrees and the heat index is 100+. Wouldn’t you just like to stretch out and have a breeze wisp over your body, cooling you as you eat bon bons or have ice cubes melting along…well, maybe that’s not the picture that tantalizes you, but you get the idea.
Way back in my youth (the emphasis is on ‘way back’), we ran around outside not thinking of the heat, immune to mosquitoes, chasing lightning bugs in the evening, and sitting on the front porch greeting other hot souls as they walked by. A floor fan was a big thing, and at my grandparents’ house, air conditioning was an unknown commodity.
Hand fans were big in churches, sponsored by the local funeral home. There is a family picture that shows a summer day inside a small church in eastern Oklahoma with all the women fanning themselves and the men showing signs of heat under their armpits.
When people talk of the good ole days, I wonder if they remember life without air conditioning? There are aspects of that hotter time that are appealing.
Your childhood was stunted if you never made tents using old Army blankets draped across clotheslines in the backyard. It was suffocating inside those thrown together tents, but we didn’t notice because we were too busy fighting the bad guys, hunting bears, and protecting the homesteads. Remember, Hopalong Cassidy was big in those days. (If you don’t know about Hopalong, then your youth really was wasted.)
I loved the ‘dinner on the grounds’ held once a month during the summer months at the church. They were pot luck meals, and those women knew how to make a chocolate cake from scratch! I recently attended a pot luck at that same small church and was appalled (that’s with two p’s) that nothing was homemade. Chicken from Kentucky Fried Chicken, pea salad from the grocery store, canned iced tea, and oh, heart break, a frozen chocolate cake!
So, I face the dog days of summer hoping to spend a day under a ceiling fan with my air conditioning blowing like crazy, grateful that my youth was spent in the heat and I don’t have to do that again. There are advantages to getting old.