The news that a Raleigh resident was recently bitten by a rabid fox sets the memory wheel spinning backward.
The most frightening nightmare of my childhood dreams was the recurring one of being chased by a “mad dog.”
In the dream, I would be racing homeward, the dog, with strings of saliva dripping from its mouth, not far behind and gaining on me.
When I finally reached the front porch and found the screen door locked, I would wake up yelling in terror. My bedmate brother would moan aloud and say irritably, “Again? Go back to sleep!”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
My cousin was bitten by a rabid dog and had to undergo 21 painful injections in his tummy. I understand that the current treatment for rabies includes five or six injections.
You who have seen the movie “To Kill a Mockingbird” surely remember the scene in which Scout watches her father, Atticus Finch, shoot a rabid dog that was staggering down the street.
A “dog days” reminder: Beware of over-friendly foxes or other wild critters.
I speak of the fireflies flickering through these summer nights, luring little children with jelly jars in hand who chase them across the lawns of America.
According to my research, the ancient Chinese would fill glass containers with the little insects and use the containers as lanterns.
Although their life cycle is two years long, most of that is spent in underground hibernation. Adult fireflies, also known as glowworms, live only a few weeks.
They turn on their lights to, of course, attract lovers.
Some of you might remember the popular poem/song from childhood:
Shine little glowworm , glimmer, glimmer.
Hey, there don’t get dimmer, dimmer.
Light the path below, above,
And lead us on to love.
The corn test
We stopped by the produce stand on Creedmoor Road for fresh corn, tomatoes, etc.
As I examined the corn, I asked the usual question, “When was it picked?”
The country saying is that to taste the full succulence of sweet corn, a boiling pot of water should be waiting for it at the end of the corn row.
“Picked this morning,” answered the young woman in charge. I believed her.
I’m hesitant to ask the “when picked” question since, a few years ago, a farmer at our Farmers Market more or less told me off when I put the question to him.
Asked when his corn was picked, the farmer replied defiantly, “Day before yesterday!”
“I appreciate your honesty,” I said, moving on.
“Let me tell you, mister,” he called after me, “If I’m gonna lie, it sure ain’t gonna be about when corn is picked.”
If Diogenes were alive today and still carrying his lantern about looking for the honest man, I’d direct him to the Farmers Market. From the produce stand, we went straight home, where my wife sliced the Purple Cherokee into our first “mater” sandwich of the season.
Talk about good eatin’!
The stand also sported bright yellow squash fresh from the fields.
Squash is one of the easiest vegetables to grow.
Some years ago, I accompanied my sister to church at Fairfield Baptist in the foothills.
As we left the car, she locked it.
“Honey,” I said, “Why are you locking the car? Don’t you trust these Baptists.”
“It’s squash season,” she said matter of faculty, explaining that anonymous people had a way of leaving squash in friends’ unlocked vehicles.
“You can only eat so much squash,” she smiled.
A human interest columnist always keeps his or her ears open for good true-life stories. I’ve found that among the best sources of humor are preachers, lawyers and, yes, little children.
Preachers and lawyers deal daily with the nitty-gritty of life. Children speak with spontaneity from their hearts, minus the guile, fabrication and conceit from some adults.
What launched me on this discourse was coming across an anecdote from the book by the late Morganton lawyer and U.S. Sen. Sam Ervin Jr . titled, “Humor of a Country Lawyer.”
The senator recalled the case of Jock Fleming and two friends who one night ran off the highway in a dilapidated Ford. All were intoxicated.
Morganton Police Chief Fons Duckworth, trying to determine which man to charge with driving drunk, asked Jock who was driving.
“Fore God, Chief,” Jock replied. “Fore God, I don’t know. The last thing I remember all three of us were riding in the back seat.”