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REFLECTIONS: Sept. 4 — Remembering the cattle vat dipping law

I have a cricket in my house. In fact I think there must be a whole family I don’t hear them in the day time but at night it is different. When I sit down to watch TV they are so loud that I can hardly hear. When I walk in the direction that the sound is from they get quiet. Smart? I have always heard that having a cricket on your hearth brings you good luck. I have a brass one on a shelf near the hearth and I wonder if that counts?

I love the sounds of summer insects that is, all but mosquitoes. I love the sounds of the locust, June bug, katydid, cicada, jar flies, as well as frogs and all the many other sounds. I really love the call of the whippoorwill. Jane called me one evening to tell me she had heard a whippoorwill. I have not heard one this summer. I just haven’t been in the right place at the right time.

Now the sounds of the mosquitoes are different. I have often wondered why we had so many of them in the house when I was growing up. We had screens on the windows and screen doors. In the hot summertime the whole family would sit out on the front porch until the house cooled off a little. Mama would burn a rag just to smoldering so the smoke would keep the mosquitoes away. She would close up the house and spray to rid the house of the pests. When the evening began to cool a little she would raise the windows and sprinkle our bed with freshly drawn cool well water. This would help to cool off the beds. As I think about it now I wonder if that didn’t just cause steam. She would put Oil of Citronella on our pillows to help keep the mosquitoes away while we slept. About the time I would be half asleep the buzzing would begin. I don’t know why it is always right in your ear.

I know most kids had sores on their arms and legs from mosquito and chigger bites. I know a lot of people deny they ever had sores from bites but most kids I knew did have. I was never ashamed of mine. I don’t remember seeing very many ticks. At that time people were having to have their cattle dipped for ticks. I know we led our cow out to a dipping vat located near where the golf course is now located. I can remember hearing Mama and Daddy discussing the vat dipping law and all the uproar among the town residents. At that time most of the local residents had a cow. I remember that trip to the dipping vat like it was yesterday. The morning was cool as we were walking out east of town along the highway. There was little traffic on the road at that time. I believe the Government was the one requiring the dipping. You and I know that most people don’t like to be told by the government to do anything, especially at that time. At least we didn’t have trouble with ticks.

What brought the ticks back to this area? A friend was telling me about a friend of hers telling her about her husband working in his yard. When he came into the house he was covered with ticks. He took a shower trying to get them off to no avail. The two of them started trying to get them off but the little pest were stuck so tight they ended up going to Urgent Care where the staff worked for hours trying to get them off. When I heard that story I thought to myself maybe the Government needs to step in and require dipping of cattle again. It would give people something more to complain about but would get rid of the little pest that can be so dangerous.