Bett Norris


Dog Days

Today is my Aunt Duck’s birthday. She is the oldest of Mama’s remaining siblings. She is the sweetest soul in the world.

Aunt Duck & Cathy - Copy

Today is also my younger sister Debbie’s birthday. Haven’t seen or spoken to her in many years.

Debra Janice Norris

Bear with me now. Yesterday was my grandmother’s birthday. We called her GraMo or MoMo.


Yesterday, July 28, was also my youngest sister Teresa’s birthday. She was born when I was a senior in high school. When she came to visit me at the University of Alabama with my parents, some people thought she was my child!

scan0052 scan0071 scan0076 Squeaky & Teresa

Dog Days are here. There is not a person who grew up in the south who does not know what that means. Long, hot, sultry days, air thick as molasses, dogs hiding under the porch, everything moving only when necessary, and only at a crawling pace. Heat waves shimmer off road tops, car tops, tin roofs. You long and pray for rain that never comes. You watch clouds darken, even hear thunder, and hope rises for a breeze, for a downpour. Too hot to breathe. Shower in the morning, at noon, at night. Nothing seems to defeat the heat.

The only good thing about dog days is that football practice starts, and that means soon school will start, and the first game of the season, marked in red, inches closer. The other good thing about dog days is that you really appreciate the subtle change in autumn, the air is drier, less humid, if no less hot. The sky seems brighter somehow. The best thing about dog days is getting through them without mayhem, that could range from the petty to the murderous. For anyone caught committing a crime during dog days, the heat is considered a mitigating factor. It won’t help you get acquitted, but it sure will reduce your sentence. Nobody would lock up a person for long in that kind of mushy, can’t-breathe, wish-to-God-it-would-rain heat. Rest assured, the sheriff, the judge, the jury, all long for a break in the heat just as much as the accused. No one has the energy for true vindictive punishment, and for sure, no one wants a hanging. Too hot to dig graves makes it too hot to shoot anybody, even if they deserve it. So there’s that.


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