Happy Fourth of July! Have a great time celebrating our country’s 241st birthday no matter what you’re doing — barbecuing, picnicking, going to the beach or park, and, of course, watching fireworks displays. You’ll be doing that on TV on the Monterey Peninsula because they aren’t any around here. Which is just as well, fireworks scare the bejeesus out of me and my siblings and other critters. All that racket, and for what?
Yes, yes, I know, we’re celebrating the birth of our great country, but do you humans have to be so loud in doing it? Just give me a good backyard party, a nice warm spot to snooze, a bowl of food and something nice to sip — a nice oaky Chardonnay, perhaps?
I jest. I prefer a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Or really, whatever Mom is drinking.
July is the seventh month of the year and was named in honor of the Roman general and emperor Julius Caesar, who was born in July. It’s also the start of the “dog days of summer,” when the hot days of summer begin.
And speaking of hot days and dogs, July is also National Hot Dog Month, with three days honoring the tasty treats: National Beans ’n’ Franks Day on the 13th, Hot Dog Day on the 19th, and Chili Dog Day on the 27th. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you (or I!) from indulging in them on any day.
July is also National Ice Cream Month, with four days devoted to the frozen dessert: Ice Cream Day is the 13th, Peach Ice Cream Day on the 17th, Vanilla Ice Cream Day is the 23rd, and Hot Fudge Sundae Day on the 25th.
Have you ever noticed how many days honor or are devoted to food? That shows you how important it is to everyday life, I suppose. But the thing that makes me crack up is how they sometimes get so specific.
For example, July 11 is not just Cherry Day, but National Rainier Cherry Day. I’ve never even heard of a Rainier cherry! I hear they are a creamy yellow cherry that’s a cross between a Bing and Van cherry and they’re named after Mount Rainier in Washington state.
Or how about National Strawberry Rhubarb Wine Day on July 15 or July 22, which is National Penuche Fudge Day? I don’t think I’ve ever seen, much less tasted, strawberry rhubarb wine or penuche fudge. But they have their own national days!
Strawberry rhubarb wine is apparently a big deal in North Dakota, where it first came to attention, but here in California we tend to prefer our wines made from grapes. Call us kooky!
And penuche fudge is a type of fudge made with brown sugar, butter, vanilla and milk (no chocolate) and is popular in New England, although it can be found in the South too, where it’s called brown sugar fudge.
And, as with other states, July also has its share of unusual, scratch-your-head days, like Sidewalk Egg Frying Day (July 4) National Clerihew Day (July 10), National Yellow Pig Day (July 17), National Hamiltons Day (July 18), Ugly Truck Day (July 20), Rat Catcher’s Day (July 22), and Take Your Pants for a Walk Day (July 27).
Some are easy to figure out. Hamiltons Day was created by TGIFridays to promote their special $10 menu (Hamilton is on the $10, or so I hear) and Clerihew Day commemorates English writer Edmund Clerihew Bentley, who created a type of four-line poem. Here’s an example:
Sir Humphry Davy
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium.
I don’t get it, but I like it! Give it a try.
But Sidewalk Frying Day and Take Your Pants for a Walk Day? I think I’m going to pass on those. I don’t even wear pants! And I’ll have Mom or Dad fry an egg for me in a proper frying pan.
But it’s not all food and wackiness, there are some serious days too. Like World Population Day (July 11), Parent’s Day (July 23), Hire a Veteran Day (July 25), International Day of Friendship (July 30), and, of course, Mutt’s Day on the 31st. That’s a great day to end the “dog days of summer,” wouldn’t you say?
Have a great Fourth of July and enjoy the rest of the month too, no matter what you’re celebrating, even yellow pigs!