A ramble through Dog Days

Is anybody hot? That’s a phrase used by my brother-in-law whether it’s hot in the house or not. The guy is always hot. The AC could be on 52 and he’d still be hot. I’ve always wondered if it is the stress of guests, high blood pressure or menopause. He is closing in on 60 after all.

The weather this summer has not been that hot but the rain has turned muggy. Dog Days has been relatively good to us. A few high 90s along the way, but gardens have been having a robust season. Tomatoes, tomatoes, squash, squash and more tomatoes and squash; my body odor is beginning to smell like eggplant parmesan and cucumber salad… need I say more.

The family across the street from Linda and I, planted 100 tomato plants. The missus said she has canned so many jars of tomatoes in the past she doesn’t know what to do with this year’s crop. With our load of tomatoes she was happy to give us more. Oh yes, we can put them in our eggplant parmesan.

Bumper crops, humidity and when the sun came out for four days this summer it was only during the week; the weekend kept people inside or slipping and sliding down the boat ramp.

I’ve dreamed of the ocean day and night; but no beach so far. Maybe global warming will bring the beach to us. Maybe you don’t believe in global warming, but surly you believe in saving a buck. A beach at our back door would save a lot on vacations.

If you want to build a deck that will look out over the ocean when it arrives, you will probably end up at Lowes. Whenever I want to relax, that’s where I go. Walking the isles, checking out the tools and fantasizing about the project I’ll never build.

I bought something at Lowes this weekend and as I was checking out on what seemed to once of the better weekend days we’ve had in a while; I was talking with the clerk, making small talk as she beeped my purchases, and I mentioned the weather (the go to small talk,)

“Bet you can’t wait to get out of here and enjoy the weather,” I said.

“Oh, I don’t know, I wish it would rain today,” she answered.

You have to be kidding I thought. She wasn’t dressed in black, didn’t have a ring in her nose and ear-lobe plugs.

As I scratch the mosquito bites on my legs, which I tell people I never get, I contemplate the end of summer and the anxiety that always splashed over me as a kid. It’s only three weeks until school. I was anxious because I went to Catholic school and in those days corporal punishment was appropriate.

“Fausz, what are you doing in the hallway,” Sister Mary Inez would say.

“Well my teacher sent…”

“Don’t give me excuses, come to the principal’s office with me,” she would say.

“Caught him in the hallway again Sister Mary Christopher,” Sister Inez said in what seemed like a smokers voice. But of course nuns didn’t smoke. But I’ve always wondered what went on behind the doors of the convent.

“Mr. Fausz carries the mail up from Sister Mary Grace’s classroom,” she said as the fingernail impressions in my neck started to come out to my skin’s regular level and quit hurting.

Everything was going to be alright. But on return, Sister Grace wasn’t happy. “Have you been lollygagging in the hallway again?” she asked.

“No Sister, I…”

“Don’t backtalk me. You’ll be tasting soap.”

I heard Johnny Schadler snickering the front row. He had had enough swats to keep his butt red for the rest of his life.

No matter what I did or said in the first eight years of my school career, I got in trouble for. I think I was second to Johnny Schadler.

You wonder why I was anxious? Well the sisters wore all black with a starched, white piece of linen around their head. That was enough to intimidate anyone. In seventh grade our class had to come back to our classroom instead of going outside for recess. We had to pray the rosary (A Rosary. Not the regular Rosary) – A form of prayer, which the beads are used to count a list of prayers as you pray them. such as “the Lord’s Prayer,” “the Hail Mary,” “the Act of Contrition.”

We said the living Rosary. Each student took one bead’s prayer and repeated out loud.

It still makes me nervous today. By the way, I am what is called a lapsed Catholic. A knuckle crack with a ruler will do it every time.


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