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.

  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • 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

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