Friday, July 29, 2016

The Dog Days of summer

What do you picture when you hear that phrase?  I, the royal pooch, envision hound dogs lying on dusty, sagging wooden porches and their people sitting in rockers alongside them. I see straw hats, ice cold lemonade, and maybe a corn cob pipe and overalls a la The Beverly Hillbillies.

Luckily for me, I don’t have to sack out on a hot porch; I get to recline inside anywhere I choose, well except on the furniture. Imagine my surprise when Mum shared with me the origins of the phrase Dog Days of summer. 

It dates back to the ancient Greeks and refers to the dog star Sirius and the time of the year when it looks as though the star rises before the sun, typically in late July.  Just as it is here in Georgia, July and August are awfully darned hot in Greece.  The ancient Greeks and Romans believed this to be the time of year when fevers and catastrophes were prevalent. I guess either the dog star or the heat can make people crazy. Us dogs? I think It only makes us lazy.

If you want to get technical, the dog days do shift around and aren’t always in July, but why ruin a good story?  To me, it’s enough that the dog days are somehow associated with dogs, whether it’s a star or me, and it makes sense to lie still in the shade.

For some reason, though, it doesn’t make sense to my Dad. He’s still taking me for walks not only in the cool of the morning but also in the heat of the day around lunch time.  His behavior brings to mind the lyrics to the Noel Coward song “Mad Dogs and Englishmen.”

In tropical climes, there are certain times of day
When all the citizens retire to tear their clothes off and perspire.
It's one of the rules that the greatest fools obey,
Because the sun is much too sultry
And one must avoid its ultry-violet ray.
The natives grieve when the white men leave their huts,
Because they're obviously, definitely nuts!
Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun,
The Japanese don´t care to, the Chinese wouldn´t dare to,
Hindus and Argentines sleep firmly from twelve to one
But Englishmen detest-a siesta. 

There’s more but you get the picture.  Suffice it to say that I am neither mad nor English.  Come to think of it, Dad is neither a dog nor an Englishman, so what does that leave?  Me thinks he may be mad.

The Royal Mum, on the other hand, is Greek and believes wholeheartedly in siestas as do her countrymen. Thank goodness for small favors.  When I can make it the up the stairs after my midday workout with Dad, you can find me lying next to Mum’s bed in front of the fan, or better yet holding down the bathroom floor…always the coolest spot in the house.