Dog Days

The heat is so relentless.  It doesn’t seem to want to give up.  Yesterday was another scorcher in a summer of record-breaking scorchers, and the natural thing was to think about water…and dogs.

A local pool had a dog swim to raise money for a shelter.  A chance to let Fido cool off and socialize.  The idea instantly caught my interest.  The thought of a pool full of dogs just sounded like an afternoon of smiles.

We got our dog in February, so we’re still getting to know her.  The few times she’s been around water, she seemed very interested.  In fact, I had to ban Lonna from walking her by the creek near our house, because Pinta would run right in, relishing the splash and making a muddy mess of herself.

Was it the heat?  Was it the brilliant blue sky?  I don’t know what exactly got everyone else so interested in the dog swim, but we arrived at the pool to find something like 500 dogs.  Literally!  500 dogs and at least 1000 people!!!  Crazy, crazy, crazy environment.

Apparently, putting your paws in the creek is slightly different than diving into the abyss.  Pinta wanted nothing to do with the water.  I’m sure the madhouse atmosphere didn’t help.  We had braved the heat and the long line, though, and there was no way we were leaving without seeing some dog paddling.  So, like any good parent, we taught our dog to swim by throwing her in the deep end.

She hated it.  No doubt about it.  Every time we put her in the water, she immediately swam to wherever I was standing by the side of the pool, dodging toys and Labradors as quickly as possible.

Oh, well.  It was fun to see all the dogs.  And Pinta loved running around on dry land saying hello to anything on four legs.  Maybe next year…

Yesterday was the feast of the Beheading of John the Baptist.  How powerful the verses at Vespers!

Herod, in demonic love and fiery passion, you condemned him who reproved your adultery.  For the sake of an oath to a dancing girl, you delivered his Holy Head to that Jezebel!  Woe to You!  How did you dare such murder?  Why was the wanton dancer not consumed by fire?  But let us bless the Baptist, as is his due, for he is the greatest born of women!

One of only two feasts in the church year that is a strict fast day, in the midst of the sunny mayhem, I wanted the kids to pause and meditate on this great Saint who paved the way for Christ.

In some traditions, the feast is remembered by not eating anything round, on a round plate, or with a knife.  After our afternoon at the pool, my brain was a little mushy.  Coming up with a special, fasting meal that we couldn’t eat on a plate was a bit beyond me.  So, I lowered my nutritional standards and served a spread based around things we could all eat out of shared, rectangular dishes in the center of the table.  The kids were overjoyed to see chips and salsa as the center of the meal!  I added a few veggies and fruit to the mix.  Apparently my brain was really, really mushy, for it was only after I hacked into the big, round cantaloupe with a large, sharp knife, did I wake up out of my fog.  Well…at least it wasn’t round when it made it to the table!

On a hot, scorching day, it was meet and right to contemplate the heat of the passions.  Those consuming desires that lead us to make irrational, unneeded, and costly choices.  How heart-wrenching to think of the dear Baptist’s bloody end, but what joy to think of him being the first to bring the good news to Hades: it’s only a little bit longer…He is coming!


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