Chocolate Can Kill (Emily Harris Mysteries) by Annie Acorn
Okay, now I’m worried. As those of you who follow this blog know, we barely experienced winter here in the D.C. area, and now spring has chosen to say goodbye to us early. I lived in the South for most of my life, and I’m here to raise the alarm. The months ahead are going to find most folks up here in the North involved in an unaccustomed, all-out war!
“What can you possibly be talking about?” you ask, surprised by my strident tone.
I’m talking about the bugs that are preparing even now to invade our homes and our getaway cottages. Believe me, I know.
What? Did I hear someone way in the back cry out that they doubted my credentials? Well, then, let me go back in time a little for you.
As a young child in Columbus, Ohio, I don’t recall ever being troubled by bugs, either inside of The Double as we referred to the duplex our young family shared with my paternal grandmother and great-aunt or without it. Then we moved when I was six to East Tennessee.
Here I was introduced to all kinds of hitherto unbeknownst to me flora and fauna. Spending much of my time out of doors, I experienced my fair share of mosquito bites and, when hiking in the Cumberlands or the Smokeys, an occasional round of delightful little critters called chiggers.
Twice ticks latched onto my scalp while I was primitive camping with Brownie Troop #13 at Camp Friendship, probably because I had passed beneath the low hanging limbs of one of the dogwoods that were prevalent in the area – trees that commonly harbor these blood-sucking insects. The smoke from an extinguished match expertly drifted in their direction by Father quickly dispatched these intruders from my person, they apparently preferring to walk away from their meal to dying of smoke inhalation.
Then I grew up and married a dear man, promising to follow him anywhere. Unfortunately, his career in retail management required our family to move from one location to another all over the Deep South, mostly in areas resting below what is commonly referred to as the dreaded Gnat Line.
Now, I can’t give you the exact latitude of the G Line as southerners frequently refer to it, but it roughly divides the states of the Deep South, running from Baton Rouge, Louisiana through Montgomery, Alabama and from there all the way to Savannah. Basically, the line forms where the frosts stop and warmer winters begin. Do you get where I’m going with this?
Yes, the cooler breezes of southern winters do slow the gnats down a bit or at least keep them at bay, but for a full nine months of each year these tiny flying insects seem to do nothing but proliferate, until finally there are enough to provide a tiny cloud around the head of anyone who ventures outside of a building.
While some of them do bite, most of them are quite friendly, greeting the uninitiated as soon as they leave their front doorway. Haven’t you ever wondered why southerners always appear to be waving at each other as they pass on a sidewalk in snippets on nightly news shows? The fact is they can’t even see each other for the dense clouds of tiny insects that surround their heads and necks like some kind of motion-filled aura. Oh, for some sort of mechanized horse tail!
And the women… If you’re the praying sort, please remember them. The hair spray required to maintain a proper bouffant hairdo acts like a pheromone to the tiny already overbreeding gnats. Why there are some who claim to have seen blondes turn into brunettes within a couple of seconds of having ventured outside for a breath of fresh air. Would I tease you now?
I can’t tell you how happy I was to be told that I now needed to wear glasses when I turned forty, for the new lens would at least form a small barrier between my eyes and the pests. But then, I discovered that if one penetrated the area between my glasses and my eyeballs, their brains were too small to allow them to find their way out again.
This, I will now share with you, is why southerners always seem to have shiny eyebrows. No, dear, this is not now, nor has it ever been, a sign of robust good health. It’s the sheen left from the liberal application of a gel insect repellent.
Rethinking your summer vacations plans? There’s no need to if you’re going to land on one of the many southern beaches. Ocean breezes will take care of you, blowing the unwanted flying insects away.
If you’re heading more inland, then here is your new plan. As soon as you arrive at your destination – even before you locate your hotel – you must head for the local funeral home and ask for a fan. Trust me, they will have them.
Made of a circle of thin cardboard about the size of a luncheon plate, printed all over with advertisements from various small town businesses, and stuck on a stick, they’re just what you’ll need. If supplies are limited, you’ll just have to exhibit your own set of shiny eyebrows until Sunday. Then you’ll be able to tap into the hidden supply that’s tucked in with the hymnals along the backs of most church pews – your prayers having well and truly been answered.
“What?” you ask, now deeply concerned. “Are there no viable alternatives?”
Well, there are two. Either you can wear a black hat with a veil, appearing to be in deep mourning, or you can pretend that wearing deep sea goggles on dry land has become the most desirable of fashion statements.
DISCLAIMER: Neither of the above options reflects the opinion of this author.
Personally, I will be spending much of this coming summer indoors. How about you?
A Tired Older Woman: Loses Weight and Keeps It Off! by Annie Acorn
Murder With My Darling (Bonnie Lou Mysteries) by Annie Acorn
Also available for NOOK!
Also available for NOOK!
When to Remain Silent (Annie Acorn’s Kindle Short Mysteries) by Annie Acorn
Also available for NOOK!