The Dog Days of Summer
By: Mary Bone
The summer was long and hot. It seems like you could see steam coming up from the pavement. None of the neighborhood children wore shoes unless they were flip flops. We could step on a goat head sticker and it didn’t phase any of us. Those were a tough sticker that usually brought blood and a tear to the eye if you stepped on one with a tender foot. Everyone’s feet were tough on the bottom and the heat from the road didn’t bother us much. The old timers sat on the porch on main street and talked about the old days, as they played dominoes and chewed tobacco.
Sometimes the younger children in town would pitch horseshoes and listen to the stories. Some of the stories were pretty good and fueled our imaginations. One story we heard was about , ”the dog days of summer.” Old Bud, one of the domino players, spat out a wad of tobacco and started talking about seeing “mad dogs” when he was little. He said the dogs had rabies and if you ever saw one you weren’t supposed to run because they were blind from their sickness and they would come in your direction if they heard movement and bite you and then you would go mad. The children’s eyes got wide as they ran home to tell their parents about the latest story.
“Little pitchers have big ears”, mom told me after I told her what old Bud had said. She did say you had to be careful if you saw one and if it was frothing from the mouth the dog probably had hydrophobia. What a big word. All that summer we were on the lookout for a mad dog. We knew we didn’t want any part of that.
It seems like everyone’s brain stayed in a fog since it was so hot and we were watching for any panting dogs in town to see if they were sick and avoid them if they were. It’s funny how stories you hear as a child stay with you and I have never forgotten the dog days of summer.