Dog Days’ Recollections
The Dog Days of summer are here.
I don’t notice them as much as I once did, probably because like the majority of folks, I stay in the house soaking up the cool breezes of the old AC.
Why is it then I like to remember those sweltering days when I was a youngster with such nostalgia?
I’ve gone back to those days using Google Earth, a neat little program that takes you just about anywhere in the world you want to go and allows you to view your subject in what I would call almost-real time.
I’ve gone back and revisited those sixty-year-old-summer stomping grounds, and guess what; they’re not the same as I remember.
The old canyons where we played cowboy and Indians are merely ruts in the field; the swirling, raging creeks are simply tiny rivulets struggling through the sand; the great trees are gone; the long vines have vanished; the rolling sand hills are nothing more than bumps in the prairie.
Could I have imagined all that?
Wise men have said it. I’m simply repeating it. You can’t go home again.
I’d like to.
I’d like to sit in the park on the fender of a Model-A watching the weekly croquet match at the city courts; the men gathering around the court, commenting on and admiring each other’s mallets, arguing the advantages of soft pad versus hard pads; the women clustering around two or three cars, discussing gardens; children; and whispering the latest scandals; and the kids, well, we just ran wild.
Sometimes, our third grade teacher, who lived within spitting distance of the court, made homemade ice cream. I’ll never forget Miss Fields. She was strict, but fair. I was an ornery brat, but she had my number.
Bless her heart, she couldn’t get away with it today, given the sick state of mind our society possesses, but when all of her punishments ran out, she resorted to ‘The Backbreaker.’
It always worked. (well, it took three times for me)
She’d stick us under her desk.
That’s right. You have any idea how cramped it is under a teacher’s desk; when she’s sitting there?
One day, my faithful sidekick in errant behavior, Jere Sayre, was under the desk with me. Two third-grade boys scrunched under the teacher’s desk. That was cramped.
Well, Jere and I were scrunched under there. It was hot. We’d try to stop giggling, but we couldn’t. And then Miss Fields sat down and began discussing English grammar.
Now, as every prim and proper woman back then who worked in business or school, she wore a demure dress, short heels, and hose.
No proper lady would be caught in public without hose.
Over my years sitting under teacher’s desks, I often stared at hose, but that particular day, they seemed to hold a special fascination for me. I pointed them out to Jere, and dared him to touch them.
He dared me, and quickly our dares escalated to the unchallengeable triple-dog-dare-with-a-punch-on-the-shoulder dare.
Screwing up my courage, I tentatively reached out and touched a dirty fingernail to her hose, and then a second time, and then I ran my finger down her shin.
I’ve seen lots of snakes strike, but I’ve never seen one as fast as Miss Fields. She grabbed my hand, and pounded my palm with a wooden ruler. I was too stunned to realize how much it hurt.
As suddenly as she started, she stopped and dropped my hand, and all the while she continued lecturing students about English grammar.
You know the bad thing about living in a little town. Everyone knows what happens. For the next year, people would stop me on the street and want to look at my hand.
I can assure you of one thing. She never had to set me under her desk again.
Those were the good old days. I’ve tried to recapture them on my blogspot, along with other articles, some a little more fiery than my days under the desk.
Take a look.