THESE DOG DAYS

Sirius, the Dog-Star

Reigns supreme in the sky

My imagination hidden

Under the porch

Like a hot, tired hound dog

During scorching days of August.

I could go to the beach anytime I wanted?

No, it’s too sandy

There are too many tourists

I could go fishing?

Too many gnats and bugs

Again–it’s too hot.

The car needs washed?

Here I sit–full of excuses

Doing none of these

All or nothing–never satisfied

WET-DOG WEDNESDAY

It didn’t start that way, but ended up as “Wet-Dog Wednesday.  I was bound and determined to grill burgers–come cloudburst or high water.

There’s nothing like the smell of two wet dogs.  I should be thankful they like me enough to hang around.

Yes, I’m crazy enough to carry an umbrella and grill in the rain.  The grill’s under a covered porch–of course.  It’s a hundred foot hike to get there.  Here comes another mini-rainstorm from  two mutts shaking off water.  The burgers smell great.

“Wet-Dog Wednesday”–it’s here, it’s now.  Take your dog for a Wednesday swim–walk in the rain.  It could catch on.

CHICKEN GUTS & HUNTING CATS

Playing in front yard.

The pond was always muddy because cattle stirred the water to keep cool.  Nobody cared that it was overpopulated with less-desirable fish species.  Willow trees leaned out over the dam and spillway.

Angling was a new experience for three brothers.  Fishing gear was simple–willow pole, cotton line, bobber, and hooks. Bait was plentiful–grasshoppers, earthworms, crickets.  Securing bait took a modicum of effort.  It was fun for a time, until reality set in.

Fish could be lousy, unrepentant bait thieves.  There were days when fish were lazy and wouldn’t bite.  It was back and forth to the house–the screen door slammed constantly.

“Mom, the fish just won’t bite.  I’ll bet I could put a dollar bill on a hook and they still wouldn’t bite.”  Not that fish had any interest in paper money.

“Maybe they’re just not hungry?”  Mom suggested.  She was probably right, but us three brothers were persistent.

“Why don’t you try chicken guts?”  Mom said, out of the blue.  It took a while to sink in.

“Chicken guts?  That’s disgusting.”  “You want to catch fish–don’t you?”  Came the reply.

We raised chickens for eggs and to eat, so there were leftover chicken guts aplenty.

Mom’s brothers were sportsmen–knew about fishing and hunting.

Fishing resumed with a bucket of smelly chicken guts, accompanied by Tags, the dog, and a few hunting cats.  Every kid needed a hunting cat or two or three.  We had plenty to spare.

Hunting cats descended from barn cats–to father’s chagrin.  Tamed by us kids, they no longer caught barn rats and mice.

My orange tabby tomcat came along–stayed in the shade.  Chicken guts were baited on hooks to the tune of disgusted “ewwws” and “yucks.”  They proved enticing to snapping turtles and catfish.

Disaster struck.  My tomcat seized a piece of chicken gut on a baited hook. He yowled, clawed at his mouth.  The hook was stuck fast to the roof of his mouth.  He fought rescuers tooth and claw.

Dad came to tomcat’s rescue with pliers.  The hook was removed, after first inserting the business end of hapless cat in an old boot.  The rest of us held the boot tight–that way doctoring could be done without arms being clawed to shreds.

Tomcat wasn’t the least bit grateful–ran back to the house.  The cat may have lost one or two of his nine lives in the process.  He spent the remainder of his life (lives) doing things that hunting cats did.

Editor’s Note:  I’m in the middle of the picture holding a cat (not the cat in my story).  My older brother isn’t pictured.  Tags, the dog is in the picture.