laura packardI’m hot.

         Temperature hot, that is.

         I’m a certified sticky, sweaty, frizzy, soaked mess.

         I go out with good intentions, but quickly crawl (not run) back in.

         I plan errands, like taking out the mail, for the dead of night.

         I take cold baths, dump crushed ice down my shirt and pour freezing water over my head.



         I believe these days are known as the dog days of summer.

         The days when even your dog refuses to go out; when he/she sees the leash and either pretends to be asleep or rolls over and plays dead.

         And who can blame them?

         I can’t even get my children out of the house, for that matter.

         I keep telling them about the summers of my youth, when I would high-tail it out of the house in the morning and dare not come back until dusk; the cavernous hammer of the dinner bell calling me, reluctantly, home.

         “Alright, Laura Ingalls Wilder,” one of them says. “We get it.      Then you had soup out of a pot over the fireplace and crawled in bed with Ma and Pa for a bonnet-clad sleep. It’s 2015. What is a dinner bell, anyway? And why would you ring it just because the pizza delivery guy just left? Talk about… what is it all of you old people call … bragging? Tooting your own flute or something like that?”

         I regale them with tales of watching for June bugs, catching crickets in wire baskets for bait and guzzling sun tea straight out of a used milk jug.

         “You know that leaving tea bags submerged in sugared water out in the hot sun all day can cause salmonella poisoning?” the other one informs me. “At least that’s what Bill Nye the Science guy says. Why can’t you just buy tea by the gallon at the Winn Dixie where the USDA, or something, like a normal person, inspects it? No one wants or needs a trip to the ER, not in this heat.”

         I share with them my summer stories of discovering a secluded pond, swinging from the branches like rafters, and free falling into the tepid water with a terrified scream.

         “Forget Jaws,” they yell in unison. “If you would ever actually sign up for Twitter so you can follow the news, you’d see the words flesh eating bacteria and never go back in the water again.”

         Oh, well.

         I can never say I didn’t try.

         I could just disable the Wi-Fi router, push them out door and lock it, but these days I’d end up in jail.

         Talk about heat.

         But do you know where the phrase “dog days of summer” really comes from?

         I didn’t, but that’s what my smartphone wielding, iPhone-carrying, AC-loving kids are for; Googling.

         Evidently, in ancient times, before broadband, craft brews and Ed Sheeran, the dog days were named from the 20 days before and after the brightest star seen from Earth, Sirius, rises and sets with the sun. Because… drum roll please, Sirius is also called the “dog star.”

It makes me wonder if all those toga-wearing Roman youth were whining and complaining about the heat – just like our Lilly Pulitzer and Vineyard Vine clad ones – while they lugged water jugs uphill from the aqueducts, hauled wheat from the fields and studied Latin for eight hours before bed.

         Something tells me it’s all relative, but then again, there were lion’s dens.

         I try to explain this to my girls when I tell them it’s just a dishwasher, not a marble statue, and it needs to be unloaded, not hauled, up a steep, rugged mountainside cliff; but deaf ears, and all.

         You might be saying, “Great, but who really cares right about now?”

         Well, you should, because ancient or not, the dog days technically last from July 3 to August 11 so we have a lot more hot, hazy, lazy, humid days left.

         But then again for all of us in South Carolina, hot, hazy, lazy humid days last through October but at least our smart aleck, cold air loving, Googling dependents are back where they should be — in school.

         So stay cool, y’all. We can do this. We’ve done it before.

         The days may be darn dogged, but there is always hope and a few gusts of much needed cool air.