Dog Days of Summer

As a kid I remember visiting various relatives in the summer time. You’d pull up into a dirt driveway, where the grass had been beaten down by tire tracks and the summer heat. You didn’t have to worry about getting stuck, because the clay mud had formed well worn tracks and hardened there into perfectly tire shaped vessels. 

The old tire swing in the front yard would be silently swinging, a testament to either the slight breeze that was blowing, or the last child who had jumped out and left it to pendulum in the hot afternoon.

Under the porch that was propped up on centuries old rocks, stacked precariously in some hot summer past, would be several old hound dogs asleep. If they recognized your car, one might raise his raggedy old head and let out a howl. If not, they you’d probably get a full on bark.  Only rarely when they didn’t recognize your car, and they didn’t recognize you, would they bother to stagger from under the coolness of the porch  and go into full on barking.

They were never more dangerous than their bark, but my mother was terrified of dogs, so it was my job to get out of the car and grab the near mangy hounds by the neck and convince them that we meant the occupants of the home no harm. By this time, the lady of the house would come out and beat them all with her apron and invite us in and so they would realize that I was their Queen.

As soon as Momma got my brother settled in the Air Conditioning, I would gather my cookie and hot RC cola and go out to see how my new servants were getting along. Usually this meant sitting in the heat, watching Rufus (they are always named Rufus should you encounter such a scenario today) scratch at the world’s biggest Tick on his hind leg, while Daisy licked her underbelly and mentally counted down the moments till the pups would need nursing again.

If I was lucky, the pups were newly weaned and ready to meet a new playmate, and we could chase sticks in the front yard for a few minutes, before even the scrawny kid who to this day freezes in the Air Conditioning would finally succumb to the need to cool off.

Then my newly found Kingdom would go back to their naps, under the coolness of the porch and await the next kid who would wander into their lowly front yard.

This week has reminded me of those days. It’s just been too hot to do much but sleep and I have had to resist the urge to cuddle up with a good book and sleep the days away.

For those of you waiting, Part 3 of our series is coming. I had planned a little research trip on Friday to get one key piece of information I was still lacking and it came a down pour!  Could not make the two hour trip to TN to the archives. Hoping to get that this week and finish our story. I will finish with or without this nugget of information next weekend, but in the meantime, know I have not forgotten you any more than I could forget my porch dwelling Subjects in the 1970s!


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