2007.07.22 Look! It's a sun dog!

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN 

There’s nothing like a good sun dog to make you think about football. Actually, I’m talking about football practice. Every time I see a sun dog, I think about practice down at Wakefield Park.

I thought about that while driving home from Wauseon late Wednesday afternoon, I was heading west on U.S. 20 and reached the point just past Chesterfield where the road drops down. The vista opens up and you can see for miles. It makes you think about Route 20 snaking its way all across America to Newport, Oregon.

I looked up and there it was—a single sun dog to the right of the sun.

It happened again friday when I was leaving for work and walking toward the city parking lot. one more sun dog, this time to the left of the sun.

that made two in one week, but it wasn’t the end. At the homecoming game Saturday afternoon I noticed another one then spotted its mate on the other side of the sun. Is the world going to the sun dogs or what?

Let’s have a quick show of hands—how many people know what I’m talking about? I was afraid of that. Look, its all a matter of refraction. But what’s refraction? You know about reflection, refraction is when light is bent or refracted. When light passes through ice crystals, some interesting things happen, such as halos around the sun or moon. those high cirrus clouds are made of little six sided ice crystal. the ice bends the light rays and a halo appears.

When the clouds aren’t solid across the sun, you sometimes get little pieces of rainbow rather than a whole halo. Those little bits of brilliance are called sun dogs or mock suns. Sometimes you see a dog on only one side of the sun; another time you get matching dogs on both sides.

I had to do a little searching to find out why they’re called sun dogs. According to Jerry Dennis in “It’s Raining Frogs and Fishes,” those little rainbow blobs sometimes show a long horizontal ray of white light sticking out at the end like a dog’s tail.

I don’t see sun dogs very often. maybe they’re not all that common or maybe it’s a matter of my geography. There’s a large house and a few nice maples across the street that block out most of the late afternoon sun.

And then there’s the football connection. You know how things stick in your head for years and years. useless garbage that ought to be thrown away and replaced with more practical data, such as getting the correct names of homecoming court members on the fron t page of the paper.

the football connection leads back to an October afternoon in 1967. Ken Rollins was the coach and the might bulldogs were on their way to ne of the worst seasons in history.

It was one of those mostly sunny afternoons with some high cirrus clouds in the western sky. I was getting back to my feet after missing my blocking assignment and allowing quarterback Jim Brink to get creamed by kent Jarrell.

and there they were—the most brilliant set of sun dogs a person could hope for. It was hard for a future weatherman to keep from looking at them...until Coach Rollins threatened physical punishment beyond what was already taking place.

Twenty-nine years late and I still think of football practice whenever I see a sun dog. It’s not exactly the best memory, but its worth it just to spot one of those celestial pooches.

  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.

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