A cool-down would be most welcome. I do not know the accuracy of the Taylor Digital Thermometer on the wall, in the little blue house at the end of the road, though, it reads 102.3 degrees outside and with the help of air-conditioning in place inside, 70 degrees feels good-significantly better than that forthcoming energy bill might seem to us.
We prefer the last location this lazy Sunday afternoon.
The outside chores have been set aside. The barred rocks are enjoyed a footbath in a shallow pan of cool water provided as a treat and to comfort. Best of all, those old biddies now have more to cackle about than laying eggs!
Nobody should suffer from hot, aching feet as I do.
Our birddog "Caesar" isn't complaining about anything either. He is smelling like a fragrant rose and drinking like a drunk in days like this. The only thing that could disrupt his nap is a pesky squirrel or two that dwells high above his space in the canopy of a tall, black walnut tree. I doubt very much they are in an argumentative mood or moving about much today. His toad friends do not have a bone to pick either.
Large black ants invaded our back porch this morning. I read in a column by "Heloise" that a line drawn with a stick of chalk across the threshold will keep them on the outside looking in. Just in case that doesn't always work, I spray thereabouts of the porch area.
We aren't bothered much with flies, I sure think that is a good thing.
When I was a kid that was a different story. My dad owned a large menagerie of domestic animals, of many breeds of every description, plus a well-stocked kennel of pedigreed beagles. We had a couple of other "amenities" of the day down the hill outback. Flies had good reason to love our place.
From the first sign of spring until Jack Frost nipped their presence in the bud, from morning until we settled down for night, we suffered the aggravation brought about by those pesky insects.
If you are not as old as I am, rich or poor or undecided, and ever lived around critters or not, could be, you know what I am talking about.
When rain was headed for our direction, the screen doors on both porches were a solid mat of the unwelcome visitors. We received strict orders, "Don't let the flies in!"
And someone filled that hole in the window screen above my bed with cotton and saturated that fluffy wad with an insecticide called Fly-Tox. Oftentimes, one or two flies would know how to avoid a whiff of that pungent potion and buzz around my face or exposed arms around daybreak.
Careful to miss my little sister, I gave them a left and a right swat until they moved somewhere else.
When too many invaded the space, Mom would hide the bread and bring out the big gun, that old fully-loaded green sprayer.
What was waiting for the next meal, under the protective cover on top of the table, found a safer place in the icebox on the back porch or in the Hoosier cabinet.
Some of us, make that one of us was an open-breather at night. An early breakfast and purging was not uncommon.
Dad brought home dozens of fly stickers from Lynch Bros. Grocery, the place of his employment during my childhood. Mom attached them to a nail on the ceiling of the enclosed back porch.
Houseflies and other flying insects came to the sticky paper and stuck around until Mom pulled the strip down and replaced it with another. No one mourned the deaths of the departed.
Those twisted ribbons that we pulled from cardboard canisters presented even more problems though. After we cast aside the kerosene lamps and updated with electricity for the three-room house, long drop cords with simple sockets fitted with bulbs dangled from the high ceilings, lit up our world and tuck the flies in at night.
Mom placed the loop at the top of the sticky fly-strip on the switch. Oftentimes, that was a disaster waiting to happen. One could, easily, step into its path and run into it, especially since the back porch did not have a nine-foot ceiling like the living quarters proper.
A vigorous shampooing with "Halo" took care of the hair problem. Sometimes more work was necessary to rid the mess and I am not talking nitpicking. Over the years I have walked into a lot of objects, but none can compare to the aforesaid.
Dad had his own methods of dealing with those little dirty devils. He was a marksman. His aim in the field as well at the house was right on. Whether he was using a high-powered rifle, an axe or a butt paddle. Fact is, I can attest, he hit his target. It came as no surprise that he was the first to grab the fly swatter or a rolled-up newspaper from the stack when those flies buzzed around him.
Our fly-fighting father slaughtered those pests one-by-one and two-at-a-time when they came flying in and lit in his space. He knocked them down with a fatal blow. As simple as it sounds, the killing game that he played gave us all happy memories.
When he was in the mood, his clowning around with the swatter, comedic delivery and songs, while proving his skill entertained us. When his not so pleasant mood surfaced, I solved that problem and invited the flies in or out. Sometimes the old front porch was a resting spot.
Oh, I reckon those flies of so long ago did deserve some praise. Without their help and the specks on the paper-covered ceiling, my counting skills would have never been realized at such an early age. Do I need to brush up? No!
The clock on the wall is telling me to go now and check out the back screen.
I can be reached by phone at 446-4852 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.