#TGIM – Thank God It’s Monday, again; and, as such, #HappyMonday to all! I personally look forward to every Monday because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!
Here, in the northern hemisphere, we’re almost to the middle of summer and the unbearable, sweltering heat of “The Dog Days” continue to hound us, with practically no relief in sight! Many Michiganders are almost wishing the “Polar Vortex” would pay us another quick visit.
“The dog days” is a term we often hear, and many of us assume that it refers to how much dogs will lethargically lie around on these extremely hot, intolerable days. But did you know that “the dog” is actually an ancient celestial reference?
According to History.com’s “Why Are They Called ‘The Dog Days of Summer’?”, a great article by Christopher Klein (no date available), “… it’s a throwback to the time when ancient civilizations tracked the seasons by looking to the sky. The ancient Greeks noticed that summer’s most intense heat occurred during the approximate 40-day period in the summertime when Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, rose and set with the sun…”
During this time of the year, ancient Greeks believed that Sirius (aka: “the dog star”), which is also part of the Canis Major (aka: Greater Dog) constellation, gave off heat like the sun because it was so bright. They supposed, therefore, that it’s daytime appearance, along with the sun, contributed to the extreme heat and high temperatures.
By the way, when Sirius breaks its sync with the sun and returns to shining in the night sky, it’s considered to be a sign of the end of “the dog days”. FarmersAlmanac.com’s, “Why Are They Called ‘Dog Days Of Summer’?” (by Farmer’s Almanac Staff; updated July 11, 2022) claims that the exact dates of “the dog days” vary by latitude.
Currently, in the U.S., it’s around July 3rd through Aug. 11th; but the Almanac also reports that, in ten thousand years or so, Sirius’ coordination with the rising and setting sun “will fall back so late on the calendar that future civilizations in the northern hemisphere will experience ‘the dog days’ of winter.”
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in her syndicated column, No Laughing Matter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI)
(Published in the Port Huron Times Herald; Aug. 18, 1977)
SUMMER CAN BE FUN – BUT NOT FOR MOTHER!
INASMUCH AS THIS IS an election year, I wish the governor would include me in a kind of relief program to cover mothers of children who are on vacation for the summer. After two weeks of muddy blue jeans and wet towels, my Biz Bag turned in a letter of complaint and left for Yellowstone. And the refrigerator door has not closed since school did.
‘With Avon, you get personal service’, they tell me on TV. Well, since the kids have been home on vacation, my Avon lady asked me to pick up my order… in a locker at the bus terminal.
Of course, summer has not always made me feel like a wart on a hog at bay. In the days of my energy, I could spend a languid afternoon with the entire family at the beach and frolicking through the sand, could sally forth to the Good Humor truck, with brood in tow, while each one took 20 minutes to decide which flavor they would take.
I know you won’t believe this, but I could then bring myself to embrace a child with all of the tranquilized sweetness of Doris Day and plead: ‘Please, Michael, tell Mommy where you buried Daddy!’ I wouldn’t have minded so much except Daddy was carrying the money for the Good Humor man in his swim trunks pocket.
And it was completely unreasonable to expect the Good Humor man to accept one of the children as collateral – or ALL of them for that matter – until we could uncover Daddy. For these are the same children who follow you through the souvenir pavilion, commenting candidly: ‘Look, Mommy. That Lady has her wig on crooked.’ And ‘doesn’t that man have funny looking knees?’
At moments like these, I know I was never meant for motherhood. It can be very depressing. But gone are the days when I approached summer vacation with the children as if I had the unfailing cheer of Betty White and Ralph Edwards.
I wasn’t meant to spend my life serving Kool-Aid and Crispy Critters to swarms of children who embark on our porch like occupational troops in the Berlin Airlift.
I always found that, just as I was about to walk the gangplank of gloom, a cheerful neighbor (probably the mother of ONE) would enumerate for me all the blessings of having the children at home and prescribe how to enjoy them while they’re small – which is exactly like trying to tell me the only way to save money in Las Vegas is to step off the plane and walk directly into the propellers.
I mean, how can anyone live with children, who think all it takes to open a limeade stand is the garden hose and a sack of lime; who now slam the same door all summer they left open all winter; who, for the entire 87 days of summer [vacation] will ask questions like: ‘Why can’t we go see FRITZ THE CAT? It’s a cartoon – isn’t it?’ And ‘Why do you have that twitch in your neck, Mommy?’ Or ‘Can I put a band aid on this worm?’
If a summer relief program is out of the question for mothers like me, I personally feel that the least the governor could do is declare me ‘A Depressed Area!’
It’s hard to get much work done during the dog days. It’s the kind of sweltering heat that makes me want to sell my stove in my next yard sale! In fact, the Thumb Coast’s M-25/M-29 Yard Sale Trail is coming soon! This is the time of year when I usually break out my cookbooks for microwaving, grilling, or set-and-forget crock-pot ideas!
What can I say? It’s still JULY, which equals SUMMERTIME and is practically synonymous with GRILLING! Hence, we’re continuing to celebrate National Grilling Month and National Picnic Month – and probably will continue to do so throughout August, as well!
Just about everywhere I go, these days, the smells of backyard cookouts – with sizzling burgers, chicken, hot dogs (it’s also National Hot Dog Month) bratts, or steaks – seem to drift through all the neighborhoods around me. Thus, sharing grilling ideas and creations on social media with #NationalGrillingMonth is very much encouraged.
I like to mention the social media sharing because Mom always believed that great recipes need to be shared! Whether you grill with gas or propane or lighter fluid and charcoal… Whether you have a small, tabletop hibachi or a large, deck-sized apparatus… What’s your special outdoor noshing go-to?
Whenever you light up your grill, especially this month, know that you’re part of an ongoing celebration for National Grilling Month. On a side note, be aware that July is considered the driest and hottest month of the summer, too; therefore, be mindful of the dangers of fire and be prepared – take extra precautions!
In honor of TODAY, being National Hot Fudge Sundae Day – plus, it’s still National Ice Cream Month, too – here is Mom’s secret, 4-ingredient recipe for “Hot Fudge Sundae Topping” (with a variation for “Hot Butterscotch Topping”, as well); from her self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 6).
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…
July’s other observances include: World Watercolor Month, National Baked Bean Month, National Culinary Arts Month, National Horseradish Month, Independent Retailer Month, National Blueberry Month, and National Peach Month!
July 28th is… National Milk Chocolate Day, Buffalo Soldiers Day, and National Waterpark Day! Plus, as the fourth Thursday in July (for 2022), it’s also… National Refreshment Day! Additionally, it’s also the last Thursday in July (for 2022), so it’s also… National Chili Dog Day!
Saturday, July 30th is… National Father-in-Law Day and National Cheesecake Day! In honor of the latter, here’s two more new shares of Mom’s copycat recipes – “Hotel Astor’s Cheese-less Cheesecake” and “Hudson’s Chiffon Cheesecake” – both from her “Original 200” collection.
…30 down and 22 to go!