My wonderful neighbors, Sandy and Brian, share their newspaper with me. It’s our weekly face-to-face and I love it. We text all week-long and, when we see each other outside across the river, we “holler” back and forth greetings and news as in days of yesteryear. It’s a quaint and lovely thing we do for staying connected as we all go through our life challenges.

Communication is such an important thing for us to maintain and texting isn’t necessarily the way to do it. It’s a monologue or your thoughts or their thoughts. It’s not in any way a conversation. Face-to-face is communication. Even phone conversations are difficult especially when one of the party is stressed or easily sidetracked.

In this day of “staying connected” via LinkedIn, Tweeting, Facebook or texting, I urge you to remember that these are mere tools for a superficial outreach and not meant to be a substitute for the real deal…face-to-face.

My monologue today is about snakes, August and Dog Days. I always thought “Dog Days” referred to that time in deep south summers (typically in August) when dogs go mad from rabies (the olden days when dogs weren’t inoculated). But locals have informed me that August Dog Days relates to snakes shedding…which makes them quick to strike as their old skin covers their eyes and blinds them.

The front page news of this weeks paper (shared by my neighbors…see there really is a dot connecting these two topics) is about a local builder who got home about 9:30 PM and put his foot out of his truck and felt like he was hit by a baseball bat. He walked around in front of his truck looking for the culprit. Finally, the pain became excruciating and realized he’d been bitten by a major poisonous snake…probably aTimber Rattler. I’ve heard from other similar snake stories from this summer that being bitten by a Timber Rattler is like being hit by a baseball bat. This contractor still can’t work because of the pain.

Here’s my main point…with all the rain we’ve had, the burrows and dens that snakes normally reside are flooded leaving them to evacuate lower grounds. Look before you leap…even in dark of night when snakes are usually underground…and watch out for your pets. A Copperhead ate this man’s little kitten. He killed the Copperhead but still got bitten in his own driveway at night.

I don’t know about you, but my retirement footwear is a flip-flop. It doesn’t provide much protection from snakes. So, I too must be ever watchful. Be safe…it’s not just the dogs that get mad in August!