Dog Days of Summer different and safer this July because of COVID vaccination

Published 3:41 pm Tuesday, July 6, 2021

We have now entered what old-timers generally call the “Dog Days of Summer” — the warm, sultry days of summer characterized by warm temperatures and thundershowers. The official “dog days” of summer begin on July 3 and end on August 11.
They are days made with the swimming pool in mind, a shade tree, or a day at the lake.
The dog days of summer are defined by more than fun and keeping cool. Generally, they are days for cutting and putting up hay, picking and canning beans; summer fruits such as peaches and blackberries; and meals marked by roasting ears of corn, new potatoes, and fresh tomatoes from the garden.
July the Fourth marks the downward side of summer — time to begin thinking about school in August, buying school supplies and new clothes. Time to start thinking about football, and if you haven’t been to the beach yet, get packing.
It’s a time for picnics, family reunions, church homecomings, a day at Dollywood or Tweetsie.
Because of the pandemic last year, many of these things were put on hold as was church and eating out at your favorite restaurant. But now, that we have vaccinations, things are beginning to get back to normal.
But did you know that less that one-third of the people living in Carter County have been vaccinated for COVID-19, which means an outbreak could happen any time, putting many people at risk. The vaccines are available at the Carter County Health Department and most pharmacies. There is no cost to get them. Why aren’t people getting them?
Some like to fall back on the excuse of the risk involved. Life is a risk. Everyday you don’t get your vaccine, you’re taking a risk of contacting COVID, which is far riskier than getting the vaccines. Yes, there are some side effects to the vaccines — sore arm, flu-like symptoms — but they aren’t deadly. COVID can be.
You are not only protecting yourself against COVID when you get the vaccine, but you are also protecting others — those that you sit by in church, folks at the grocery store, Wal-Mart, or the restaurant you dine at on a weekday evening or Sunday after church.
I also think about local nursing home residents. You are also protecting them by getting a vaccination and are ensuring that they are free to have visits from family and friends, that they are able to go out, to get a haircut, etc.
Do you realize that these folks went a year without seeing family and friends, were unable to feel the summer breeze on their face, could not enjoy a church service, or even eat together because of COVID. Because of the vaccinations, they were given their freedom again.
School children were unable to attend classes in person much of last year. There was very little sports activity. Vaccinations made it possible for graduations and proms this year, and in-school classes.
Most churches suspended services, Vacation Bible Schools, homecoming, etc. because of COVID. But, because of vaccinations, things are getting back to normal.
This July, thus far, has been different from July of last year. This past weekend, there were Fourth of July gatherings and activities. There were fireworks, music, car shows, church gatherings, ball games, etc. Vaccinations help make that possible.
Yes, the Dog Days of Summer even though “not fit for a dog” because of the hot sultry days they signify are looking better and even feeling better this year because of the COVID vaccinations.
We hope that if you have not received your vaccination, that you will make the choice to make summer safer by getting your shot in the arm soon — and the second shot, too. You are not only protecting yourself, but those around you.