Thursday, August 15, 2019

Dog Days of Summer, by Myra Johnson

Apparently, the summer heat has been on the minds of several Love Inspired bloggers this month. It’s been brutally hot in Central Texas the past few weeks, with several days in a row topping the 100-degree mark. Texans aren’t the only ones sweltering, however. I recently read an article stating July 2019 may well go down in history as the hottest month on Earth ever recorded!

Chillin' underground with the fam on a hot summer day!
Crazy, but our dogs actually seem to enjoy finding a sunny spot in the grass to stretch out and soak up some rays. Watching them made me curious, though—where exactly did the phrase “dog days of summer” originate? 

Poppy soaking up some rays!
A little Googling and I came up with an answer. Come to find out, the phrase has nothing to do with panting dogs lolling in the summer heat. The term began way back with the Greeks and Romans, when the hottest days of the summer often coincided with Sirius, the Dog Star, rising and setting along with the sun. The Greeks and Romans believed Sirius combined its heat with the sun’s, making the days even hotter (a false assumption, of course). Depending on the tilt of the earth and where you happen to be living, the so-called dog days of summer typically occur between July 3 and August 11.

So now I’m pondering the origin of any number of idioms we hear so often in daily conversation:
  • Raining cats and dogs. (Sure could use a good rain right about now!)
  • Facing the music. (Are they playing your song?)
  • Once in a blue moon. (Ever seen one of those?)
  • Having a bee in your bonnet. (Scary thought!)
  • Getting up on the wrong side of the bed. (I always get up on the same side, but some days definitely turn out more “wrong” than others.)

Oops! Yep, that's me, waking up on the wrong side of the bed!
If you’re curious about these or innumerable other turns of phrase, many of which I’ve never even heard of, I found an interesting website, Idioms Online. Share some of your favorites in the comments, and enlighten us about the origin if you can!


Native Texan Myra Johnson writes emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. She’s wrapping up a Love Inspired mini-series with returning characters from Her Hill Country Cowboy, Hill Country Reunion, and The Rancher’s Redemption. The next book in the series, Their Christmas Prayer, is due out in October.

Also look for the updated editions of Myra’s earlier romances:

Myra is a three-time Maggie Awards finalist, two-time finalist for the prestigious ACFW Carol Awards, winner of Christian Retailing’s Best for historical fiction, and winner in the Inspirational category of the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Awards. After living five years in Oklahoma, then eight years in the beautiful Carolinas, Myra and her husband are thrilled to be back in the Lone Star State enjoying wildflowers, Tex-Mex, and real Texas barbecue! The Johnsons share their home with two very pampered rescue dogs who don’t always understand the meaning of “Mom’s trying to write.” They’ve also inherited the cute little cat (complete with attitude) their daughter and family had to leave behind when they moved overseas.

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  1. I'm right there with you on those Dog DAZE. What fun to learn where that saying comes from, and congratulations on your new release. Can't wait to get my hands on it.

    1. Hi, Vannetta! Yes, it’s been crazy hot this month! Good days to stay inside with the A/C and our laptops and try to get a few more words written.

  2. Hi Myra! I just had to chime in and say that I do NOT miss those sweltering, humid days growing up in central Texas. Although the temperature may read a little hotter here in SE Arizona, its definitely more comfortable. The phrase "dry heat" may not be an idiom, but it's true! Stay cool!

    1. Yes, I’ve heard the “dry heat” justification—LOL!!! We lived in Houston for 13 years so just about anywhere else has less humidity. When people complain that Central Texas weather is too humid, we have to laugh. Enjoy your Arizona summer!

  3. I looked up "raining cats and dogs" in your idiom site and found the following:
    "We can only guess at the origin of this curious idiom. One possibility that is that the expression comes from the poorly built streets of England during the 1600’s. When a heavy rain came, the streets were flooded by flowing sewage and trash. Any dogs and cats trapped in the muck could easily be killed. Hence, after a very bad rain, the corpses of cats and dogs were often found outside, looking as if they fell from the sky. Thus, the idiom was born."

    I always thought it was that cats and mice lived in thatched roofs in the olden days and when it rain, the critters slipped off the roofs as if falling with the rain. Your idiom site did mention that idea but said dogs would not be on roofs. Still...

    Stay cool! It's hot in Georgia!

    1. Oh, Debby, what a gruesome thought--drowned animals! I like the one about the roof a little better. Um, maybe the dogs were chasing the cats?

  4. YES, it is hot in GA (Debby G.). Myra, I am so looking forward to reading Their Christmas Prayer!

    1. Thanks, Jackie! And let's all pray for a reprieve from this heat wave. I'd settle for mid-90s about now!

  5. hi me david i can read page I'm right there with you on those Dog DAZE. What fun to learn where that saying comes from, and congratulations on your new release. Can't wait to get my hands on it.


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