Dog days

Even though the heat has subsided, these are still the dog days of summer. August is sort of the Sunday evening of months. Monday morning--school and a resumption of order--is imminent.

This fall I am going to be teaching history at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, so I will be on a school schedule. No matter what, I think the school schedule sticks with us throughout life. And August is sort of a nostalgic, last gasp of freedom. Summer is tired out, but one hates to leave it behind.

Allergies have been worse this year for many people, including myself. Sniffles and tickles. The drought is likely to blame. All things are ripening early, including the weeds.

I remember from past years of allergies not to expect too much of myself during allergy season, for I think it saps one's energy completely.

Had a meeting in town today at the cafe. While walking out, I spotted Aunt Olla and Aunt Ede having lunch. Ede took Olla to Ada for her new glasses. I told Olla that they looked quite dignified, to which she replied that she could use all the dignity she can muster since she so often has it stripped.

A generous weblog reader was kind enough to bring Olla some goat cheese from a recent trip to Norway. Well, that has made Olla's month. She strongly implied that now, with a good supply of goat cheese, she can die in peace. She has handed over the cheese to the staff at the Fertile Hilton, and they are making sure that she has a chunk of it on her breakfast plate each morning.

The staff at the Hilton keeps Olla so busy she doesn't know which end is up. Last week, they loaded some residents up and took them to a big house at the lake. The house was built for wheelchairs because the owner is disabled. The Hilton "inmates," as Olla calls herself and her fellow residents, were outfitted with straw hats and took a ride on the pontoon.

They keep pestering Olla to come to Bible Study, but it is at 10 in the morning and Olla just doesn't have time at that point in the day. No fewer than four people pestered her yesterday to come. I think it wears on Olla to have to defend her piety while honoring her own wish to skip Bible Study. Some people just don't understand how you could pass up a Bible Study in good conscience. At least that is what their tone of voice implies.

So, life at the Fertile Hilton continues at a frantic pace. So many activities. So many visitors.

Olla and Ede stopped by Olla's friend Florence's house. Poor Florence recently lost her dog Fufu, so she has been unable to sleep, and she was in rough shape. People are trying to find Florence another dog, but it will be tough. Florence is 91, and getting used to a new puppy will be a bit of a task. Fufu got up at 3 a.m. every morning to go out for a bladder break. Even though Fufu is gone, Florence still wakes up at 3 a.m. and when she realizes that Fufu is gone, she becomes despondent.

On the Minneapolis trip, we visited an apartment building--formerly the Oak Grove Hotel--in downtown Minneapolis which is "pet friendly." There was something of a smell in the hallways, and some barking sounds, and my usual incredulity at people in the city having dogs kicked in. What are they thinking?

But then, I remembered reading recently about how much lonelier people are these days, and I realized that dogs in apartments might be a symptom of peoples' inability to connect to other humans, and a possible antidote to loneliness.

In any case, one has to feel for Florence.