Dog Days of Summer


Short as the walk that ends the night                 

“You’re a good girl. Now behave yourself.” 

I tighten the leash, stop a moment to catch my breath, bend over and pet the dog.  “We should be able to finish our walk, then I have some things to take care of before I, ‘make it to the church on time,’” I hum.

Roo Roo folds one ear back, the other cocks forward, her amber eyes search my face. 

I check my watch. For some of us, there’s a certain order in which things should be, and are, done. There’s still time for me to make it through the rest of my every Sunday morning routine

An early riser, I had downed my first quick cup of coffee before Roo and I left the house and while I sipped, had picked up the Northminster Baptist Church book that has names and pictures of our congregation. There’s a slight tendency for me to get names mixed up now, so I go through the book twice every Sunday morning, once before and once after walking the Roo. We were a little late getting started this morning so we were a tad behind on our time frame but even after our walk and dressing for church, there should be a few minutes left for one more look-see, over the church members.

I loosen the leash.

My companion and I are on the move again. We’ve already survived an exciting visit with my friends Karen Spencer, Martha Marley, and her dog Mattie this morning.

In a holding pattern now, we walk on down St. Andrews Drive, a wide, quiet street. “Over the hill, so might as well enjoy the view, Roo Roo,” I say. It had been a stifling, sweltering, wet Mississippi summer. We are now in the dog days of the season though, and the heat is soft like a baby’s breath, not heavy, as if someone had dropped a damp towel over my head. Trees grace yards fringed with trimmed shrubs and a manicured green sweep of lawns. The early morning sun streams through branches of the live oaks, their leaves not quite ready to change colors and let go but shedding days should not be too far around the corner. We pass houses of sleek and modern design, while others have the look of antebellum homes.

I enjoy the walk, the early morning air. But most of all I take pleasure that this is something at my age I can still do. Cherish your happy moments, they make a fine cushion. (not for old age, I remind myself, but for the golden years)

I spot something small, shiny and pick it up. A cummerbund. Well, whadda you know about that?  Earlier, I had picked up a tuxedo jacket and given it to the guard. I had already bypassed a Cinderella slipper hidden in the weeds. Too far to turn back now, I drape the satin sash over my shoulder.

Still on St. Andrews, not far from where we turn onto the golf course, two gentlemen are bending over in the road. They have found about 40 long nails they say, and are picking them up, hoping no one will run over them and have a punctured tire. I give the cummerbund to one of the men and ask him to turn it in to the country club office.

The nice lady who delivers our newspaper gives a hand wave and leans out the window. “Your paper’s gonna be late today.”

“That’s fine. Thank you, ma’am.”

The dog and I are so blessed with the way we are treated. “Thank you, God,” I say, meaning those words with every beat of my heart. We get horn honks and waves from some of the friendly folk who work at the club, or members who are on their way to work out at the gym. Most of the time people are so very thoughtful, and if they can, even if we don’t need it, they give us a little room on this part of our trek.

Oops! As sometimes happens, spoke too soon. Heading toward us, one lone car, a red Mustang convertible swings close. Loud music’s pulsating, and no, it’s not a Sunday morning sound, which could have been Blake Shelton singing, “God’s Country.” No, these words sounded more like, “Down to the Honky Tonk Tavern,” and if anything, the driver seemed to steer a little too close on purpose. (maybe I’m kinda paranoid these days—that seems to go hand-in-hand with the golden years).

Popping down a pooper scooper wave to the man, Roo Roo and I jump up onto damp grass. I’ve done and said this before—someday yours truly’s going to get in trouble.

Not today though, even with that little bit of showing my backside. The car guns its motor and rolls on.

Once again, Roo and I are on the move.

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1. He drove a blue ‘77 Chevy Nova in high school. 2. He played on Jackson Prep’s 1985 and 1986 state championship basketball teams.