Opinion Columns & Blogs

This and that in ‘dog days’

wmarshall@macon.com

Slogging through dog days: Like most older folks born in the rural South years ago, I’ve heard about dog days all of my life. And while I know that dog days refer to the sultry, hot days of summer, I’ve never known exactly when they are, so I “looked it up.” I still don’t know exactly when they are.

In Anglo-Saxon times, the dog days ran from July 14 to September 6. The “Old Farmer’s Almanac” says it’s the 40 days beginning July 3. And, the “Book of Common Prayer” states that dog days begin on July 6 and end on August 16.

I still don’t know when dog days begin and end, but I do believe we are now right in the middle of them, and I’ll be glad when they’re over!

I do vividly remember this. Young boys, like me, and lots of girls, in the rural South used to step on nails, barefooted, or cut their toe on a piece of glass or slam their finger with a hammer. I heard, many times, that it was worse to do these things in dog days because of infection. But, there was a remedy: Tie the wound up in a clean rag and soak the rag in kerosene. And, yes, it usually worked. It took away the pain and swelling, killed the infection, and got well soon.

By the way, I’ve used the word “slogging,” which means “to walk with a slow, plodding gait; a long, exhausting march or hike.” Don’t you think we’re slogging through dog days?

“Parting The Curtains — Interviews With Southern Writers”

My great friend and south Macon boy, Connell Stafford, recently sent me this book and I love it. Its title is self-explanatory and is by Dannye Romine Powell.

Twenty-three writers are interviewed, including these with whom you might be familiar: Pat Conroy, James Dickey, Shelby Foote, Alex Haley, Walker Percy, Will Styron and Eudora Welty. Like I said, I really am enjoying this book. Perhaps more about it, if and when I make my annual books report.

Just a little bit about Connell and me. Connell, south Macon, and me, Perry. Connell, Willingham High School, and me, Perry High School. Connell, Nu-Way Weiners, and me, Tabor’s Packing Shed.

Connell and I have been close friends for 44 years. And both of us realize and talk about that despite our different but interesting careers. Both of us carry deep imprints from our early years. It’s the way we talk, how we think, what we say, our early church teachings, excellent public school experiences, and parents who loved us but made us work and demanded that we behave. All of this is still in us, south Macon and Perry.

Connell was teaching in the Bibb County public schools when he started driving Sam Nunn in Nunn’s first bid for the United States Senate. Connell ended up, after many years in Washington, as Sen. Nunn’s executive assistant. That was followed by a stellar career in an important nationwide position with Coca-Cola.

My view: South Macon and Perry, Perry High and Willingham, were pretty good places for incubating and helping to start two Middle Georgia boys and thousands of others like us.

Larry, What do you think about our country?

Saturday night, a week ago, Janice and I were over at my mother’s in Perry, when she once again asked me a question that she has asked several times before: “Larry, what do you think about our country?” This was followed after a short conversation about the Republication and Democratic conventions. Having just watched the Republicans (not very long) and the Democrats (not very long), I was prepared to answer and did so by lamenting the condition of our country. Mother agreed. Perhaps we were both right and wrong.

Later that night, Janice and I were “channel surfing” at home when we saw a documentary being aired by CNN on the 1970s which was well done, very interesting, but disturbing in the reality and ramifications of the facts presented. Seeing what was going in the 1970s in our country about the Vietnam War and the resignation of President Nixon made me think about much of the history of our country and the myriad things we have overcome in the past.

“What about our country?” Not good, but we have seen worse, and we will survive and persevere. Maybe CNN will do a documentary on our time 40 or 50 years from now.

This is that and that is this on this Sunday, August 7, 2016. Hope to be here next week. Larry.

Larry Walker is a practicing attorney in Perry. He served 32 years in the Georgia General Assembly and presently serves on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Email: lwalker@whgmlaw.com.

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