My mom used to say, “It gets so hot in Chicago you can fry an egg on the sidewalk.”

I always wondered if she meant sunny side up or over-easy? Scrambled might be difficult.

So, one hot summer's afternoon, during a visit with my Chicago cousins, I looked sadly down upon the perfectly good egg I just wasted on a sidewalk. A Chicago cop came along and asked, “So, whaddya’ doin’ there, rum-dum?”

* * *

Whenever I talk to the cousins in Chicago about the weather in Portland, the response is always that the people in "Ore-gone" are a “bunch a' wusses” as weather conditions in Chicago are much more extreme. For instance, when it is 32 degrees out here, it can be 15 below in the Windy City, and they let me know this.

I am not much of a hot weather person. In fact, I find the heat almost unbearable and pray for cooler weather, sometimes putting it in the hands of the saints. Unlike the other religions, as Catholics, our bases are truly covered.

For all things summer, I call upon the French St. Medard, patron saint of weather. Medard’s feast day is June 8.

The French have a rhyme that goes: “Quand il pleut à la Saint-Médard, il pleut quarante jours plus tard.” Translation: “If it rains on St Medard’s Day, it rains for forty days more.” But this comes with one caveat that is largely overlooked: The rule holds true unless there is a change of weather on the June 11 feast day of St Barnabas, the patron saint of second chances.

I factored the equation of Medard and Barnabas and applied it to Portland’s June weather calendars for the past 10 years. I found that the rule held true for each of the years, except for 2020, which was the weirdest year of everyone’s life.

If it gets uncomfortably hot outside, I refer to another French saint, St. Eligius, the patron of air conditioning, and whose feast day is also on June 11. So, while you’re there on that day, you can stop and visit with Barnabas as well, who will give you a second chance until things cool down.

Before heading to Home Depot to buy a Toshiba air conditioner (with the blessings of St. Eligius) there is, of course, St Nicholas, who is also the patron saint of carbonated beverages.

And if you are out in the swelter, put on your cap and keep St. Andrew Avelino in your prayers. He’s the patron of heat strokes.

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Meanwhile, back in Chicago, how about Wrigley Field on a hot summer’s day? Just as professional baseball has two leagues so baseball has two patron saints: St. Sebastian, another Frenchman, and St. Rita, a kindly and patient Italian nun who is also the patron saint of the Chicago Cubs, the team that didn’t take the series for 71 years.

Sorry, yooz’ Cub fans, but there is no patron saint of hot dogs or pizza. But you can work with St. Anthony the Abbot, the patron saint of pizza makers, and St. Lawrence, the patron saint of fast food workers.

For the bottom of the fifth inning, there are four patron saints of beer: Arnold of Soissons, Arnulf of Metz, Wenceslas and once again Nicholas, though in my mind the latter two deal mostly in winter or Christmas suds.


Back to the Chicago cop and the egg. How did that pan out?

I told him what I was doing, and he replied, “Yeah, you’re goofy or something,” and, “you just wasted a perfectly good egg on the sidewalk.” I told him I already knew that and he asked me if I were some sort of wise guy and asked me where I was from. When I told him I was from “Ore-gone,” he looked at me all hairy eyeball and said nothing else and carefully walked away.

Van der Hout attends St. Pius X Church and Mount Angel Abbey.