“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Prov. 17:22)
It seemed like just as we were beginning to enjoy spring, it was over, and the hot days of summer had arrived. My friends and I usually liked summertime, but this summer was different.
When summer had come before, we would run and play outside in the cool mornings. Then my friends and I would lie under the shade trees until it was too hot to play and we would have to go inside.
But now it stayed hot all through the night and was even too hot in the mornings.
There was not a cloud in the sky and the bright sun beat down upon the ground all day long. Not even a breeze blew and the air felt thick and hard to breath.
Day after day it seemed to get hotter and hotter.
The grass turned brown, the flowers died, and even the leaves dried up and began to fall from the branches. The insects made a noise in the trees like they were crying for rain.
Jasmine and I would usually go outside for only a few minutes and then we would run back in with our tongues panting ready to drink some cool water.
Sometimes Brother would turn the water sprinkler on in the back yard so Jasmine and I could play in it for a while.
Even Marvin the possum would come out after Brother went inside and we would play tag running in and out of the water.
Mom made sure that Chester the goat had plenty of water to drink and food to eat.
She kept the windows and door of the little barn open and placed a fan inside so that it would blow on him while he slept on the hay.
Marvin spent most of his time high up in the trees. He said that it was cooler there and he could feel the wind blow a little.
Spots the calf stayed with his family out by the pond in the cow field and lay in the mud to get cool.
Day after day the hot summer days came with no rain. It seemed to worry Mom and Dad.
They would turn the sound up louder on the television whenever the man was talking about the weather.
They also talked a lot about big “wildfires” that were burning. I overheard Dad say that we were in a “terrible drought” and a “record breaking heat wave.”
I didn’t know what that meant. All I knew was that Jasmine and I were bored. Dogs can only stay inside and chew on their toys for so long. Mostly we just lay around an d slept.
Maybe this is what people meant when they said, “The dog days of summer.”
We didn’t know it at the time, but our “boring” hot summer was getting ready to change.
We were about to have more excitement than two little dogs ever wanted to have.
Jasmine and I were playing tug with a pair of socks one afternoon when Dad suddenly turned the sound up on the television.
Mom, Dad, and Brother gathered around while the man on the television said that he had some “breaking news.”
He began talking about a big dust storm with very high winds that was beginning to blow out west where all of the wildfires had been. He said that it would be heading in our direction and could be very dangerous.
Dad told Mom that he had been in this kind of a storm when he was a little child.
He said that even though his family covered the windows and doors to keep the dust out of the house, the wind blew so hard that the dust came in and they almost couldn’t breathe.
Dad said we would have to get ready.
The wind was going to be so strong with this storm that it could blow down trees and power lines. We might even be without electricity again like we were during the big winter snowstorm.
The man on the television had said that the storm would probably reach us by dark, so Dad, Mom, and Brother began to get our house ready.
Jasmine and I couldn’t understand everything the man had said, but we understood the words “storm” and “dust”.
Before I was adopted, I had spent a night outside during a thunderstorm. Ever since then, I was scared of thunder and lightning.
But I overcame my fear when Marvin and I rescued Spots from a fire during a lightning storm. Both Jasmine and I knew that we were safe from storms in our little gray house.
I had watched Mom dust the furniture many times. The little stuff she stirred up that floated in the air, tickled my nose, and made me sneeze didn’t seem like it could hurt anyone.
That’s why we didn’t understand what all of the fuss was about.
As Dad told everyone what to do and they all hurried to do it, Jasmine and I thought that it was a new kind of game we were playing.
Dad and Brother took tape and began taping around all the edges of the windows. Mom got out the winter blankets and hung them over the windows and taped them to the walls.
They rolled up wet towels and put them around the bottom of the outside doors. Dad told Brother to get bed sheets and cover things like the television, computer, and video games.
Jasmine and I joined in the game by running around, barking, and trying to play keep-away with the towels and sheets.
Mom had left one corner of a blanket loose at the front window so that we could look out.
The sun was just beginning to go down when the wind started to blow and we saw the big brown cloud coming over the treetops.
(TO BE CONTINUED)