My younger brother and I were told, with authority, by a learned 8 year old that these were called "Sew-er Needle Bugs". "If it hears anybody swearing...saying really bad words, it'll sew your lips together!!" It was the biggest bug I'd ever seen in all my 8 years, and it looked big enough to do it! A group of us kids had been meandering along an old dried-up creekbed one sunny Summer afternoon, when this huge, colorful blue insect flew up along side us.  I screamed and ran all the way home, occasionally stealing a look behind me, making sure it wasn't following me, and trying to think if I'd said any bad words lately. I was a tomboy by nature, so it wouldn't surprise me if I had just to prove to the other 'guys' that I was just as tough as they were. Heck, on occasion, if one of them was beating up on my brother, I'd  have to step in and 'rassle 'em'. I could spit farther than most of 'em and could outrun any of 'em. I outran the "Sew-er Needle Bug" that day, too. I got inside the house, slammed the door and locked it, then spent most of the next half an hour looking out all the windows of the house to see if my brother could make it home, too. I sure hoped he didn't come home with his lips sew'd together. When he got home later, he was fine. And we never did hear about any kids actually getting their lips sewn shut, but it was a good idea not to ever swear again, just in case.
 When I got grown up and had kids of my own, for the heck of it one boring Summer afternoon, on a hike with them, along comes another gorgeous dragonfly, so I tried 'pulling' the old "Sew-er Needle Bug" theory on them, but they were much too sophisticated to fall for it. Well, there went all that fun.
For the rest of the time I spent in western NY...years and years and years, thereafter, I never paid much attention to dragonflies.
When I first moved down here to South Louisiana, I noticed them...a lot. It seemed they were everywhere in our yard. Cappy said, "Down here they call them Mosquito Hawks", because they feast on mosquitoes. I started to notice how they'd come round anytime I was working outside. If I was hanging laundry, they'd come sit on the clothesline and watch me. If the line would jump, they'd fly off, then come back and sit on the line some more. 
Now, up in New York State, everything seems to have to be done quickly, no matter what it is. One of the first things Cappy got me to do down here in the South was to "get my mosey on", to slow down, take time to really look around and study the beautiful things of God's nature. And there sure is plenty. So, while I was at it, I studied how the insects behaved, since they seemed to be everywhere.  I got to really enjoy watching these dragonflies, which are truly beautiful. Some are shiney, almost florescent green or blue, or even gold. I noticed that their little heads moved this way and that, as they looked around. One day I was working in the flowerbed, all hot and sweaty when this darned mosquito kept pestering me,  strafing my face, trying to hone in on a good landing spot to drill. What a pest!  Zzzzzz.....Zzzzzz.....Zzzzzz. Suddenly a dragonfly flew in from over my right shoulder, stopped in front of my face, then darted off again to the left. The offending mosquito was GONE...the "mosquito hawk" had come and gotten it! He really did! Just then Cappy called and I said all excited, "The mosquito jet came and took off with a mosquite...really!!!"  He said, "Uh...mosquito hawk, not jet".  Doesn't matter. Even after all these years, if I get excited, I still call them 'mosquito jets', much to Cappy's chagrin.
If I'm working on flowerbeds or anything outside, they'll come and sit in front of me, fold their little arms (paws...whatever), look up at me and "ask", "Do you got any skeeters for me?" (Well, I know by now, that you must think I'm strange from things you've read in this blog in the past) .....so I answer the little guy, "Nope, I gots no skeeters right now", but then I go and rustle the plants growing by the back door, where the danged mosquitoes hide. An angry cloud of 'em emerge to find a "mosquito jet/hawk" darting around in pursuit. I just love when that happens. And you might remember from way back in the depths of the blog, when a couple of very large banana spiders had set up shop on our patio. They were actually fun to watch for the month I let them be there. Hey, ya don't find banana spiders in western NY State, Cappy's out on the boat for long periods of time, I'm trying to observe nature, so I watched 'em live their lives right in the middle of my world. I don't know the longevity of banana spiders, but they were around for a month or so and built an quite an elaborate web. One day they thought they'd hit the lottery. Instead of just feeding on the same ol' mosquitoes in the plants, they actually caught one of my buddies, a dragonfly. They were high-fivin' each other and dancing all over their large web, congratulating each other. Nooooo.....I grabbed something, anything and flung the dragonfly out and across onto the lawn. The banana spiders were horrified and yelled, "WTDF??!!".... (Where's The Dragon Fly ;-)  I tried getting the "skeeto jet" to sit on the clothesline and know that he was free to go...but he couldn't sit up. He seemed paralyzed. Uh oh. Cappy told me that spider webs contain some kind of natural anesthetic. Helpless, I just had to let him sit on a leaf and see if he'd recover on his own. He may have. When I went back later, he was gone. Maybe a bird got him. I dunno. But the next day, the banana spider who had caught him in his web, died. Seriously. Probably from a broken heart. Then three days later the other, bigger banana spider...maybe it's mate, died. I had interferred with nature and felt terrible about it. Well, Cappy sez, "Ya got a soft heart, Peg, and a great imagination the way you read things into things". Ya, I guess I do.
    Last week Cappy and I went out fishing in one of the bayous near our town. We didn't take the dawgs because our boat's bimini top had blown apart in a windstorm, so there was no shelter from the scorching sun. It was in the 90's. They couldn't have taken it. I couldn't take it. While Cappy, who is so used to the sun and heat, sat blythly fishing away, I found in my huge ziplock bag that I take on our fishing trips a brand new kinda rickety bright purple umbrella ... which the sun blazed right through, so I took my dark red bed sheet (that I wrap around myself as a "modesty cloaking device" if I have to sit on a 5 gal. "potty" bucket way out in the wild)... and draped it over the back seat which was above me, then over the top of my umbrella. It kept falling apart, but when it did stay put, the hot stagnant air got stuck under there with me. I was miserable. I kept thinking, (like Jim Carrey says in the movie, "Dumb and Dumber"), "Find my happy place, find my happy place". So I tried staying calm and tried finding things to make me forget about how wretchedly miserable the situation was. Presently I noticed dragonflies coming to "visit". There were a couple. One came by who was shiney lime green. He made me laugh out loud. I think their heads make them look like little old-fashioned motorcycle guys, who only used to wear black goggles and no helmet. The bottom of his face was all rounded out and was the same color as the rest of him. He came and sat down on the boat right by me, turned his head to look off at something and I noticed that he was eating something. He looked like a little old man gumming something with his jaw moving up and down...and wearing those little black goggles, then he looked back up at me and sat there just watching me. Another dragonfly whizzed into the 'scene', and immediately, the first little guy took off after him and chased him away, then he came back and sat some more. He'd turn his little head to look to the left or right, then back at me. Every once in awhile he'd have to chase off another intruder, then he'd come back chewing something and sit there keeping me company. He was so cute, how could I not talk to him? I told him I didn't have any skeeters, but he didn't care, he was eating something already. Cappy moved the boat up the bayou aways, leaving my little guy to find something else to amuse himself back there. Cappy got his pole back into the water and asked if I didn't want to fish some. Hah. I got my "tent" set back up instead. I had to tightly hold onto the umbrella or the whole thing would collapse and I'd be frying in the sun. Occasionally a nice strong breeze would blow up and Ohhhhh, it was delicious but then it would whip my sheet off the top of the umbrella, and then cripple ...crinkle the umbrella so it folded up in a crazy fashion, and there I'd be again, frying in the blazing, scorching sun. Sweating and seething, I'd wrap the hot red bed sheet...the miserable thing, swathe it around over the top of the gawdy brand new purple dilapidated umbrella and got myself seated under it again, quietly fuming in that shady cloth "easy-bake" oven, "Where's my freaking happy place, where's my freaking happy place".  Our boat must have looked like some kind of sight from down the bayou. One guy drove up close by to see what in the heck the big beet red and purple heap was back there behind Cappy. When he spied my eyeballs peering out at him, he said, laughing, as he drove off, "Who's the smart one?" I'm still wondering about that. By now, Cappy had hit a "honey hole" and was pulling in fish with some regularity. He asked me again, if I didn't want to help.  (........uh...no.) The day was really beautiful though, and here came another dragonfly. He was a little blue fellow. He didn't seem all that interested in 'visiting' with me, though. He was more interested in chasing off other dragonflies from his "find". While he was off directing bug traffic, ...just great, a huge horsefly started in on us. I guess he didn't see me under all my gauzy "shelter" and whatnot, so he started looking for a cozy place to sink down onto Cappy while he wasn't looking. Meanwhile, here comes our little blue mosquito hawk. He's very little compared to the behemoth that's circling around Cappy's shoulders. Those big huge horseflies hurt when they bite! Cappy was totally unaware that he was about to be assaulted. I was about to get out and find something to try to swat it away, when suddenly that brave little dragonfly attacked the fly and chased him away! The dirty rotten hulk of a fly tried sneaking back a moment or two later from the other side of the unsuspecting Cappy. And again, our miniscule hero shot off after him, and this time followed him away just to make sure he wouldn't come back.  I didn't know little bugs like that were so daring as to take on 'somebody' so much bigger than themselves in their 'line of duty'. I was thoroughly impressed. When he came back and sat down at his 'post', I said, "Wow! You're a good bug to do that! You were protecting Cappy weren't you? You're a good boy...or girl,  you are". Cappy said, "Okay, we're going in. Eight fish is plenty. I can tell the heat is getting to you, I need to get you home so you don't have a heat stroke or something." Just about then he tried pulling up his trolling motor, but it got stuck and we were several miles still down the bayou. He wiggled it and jiggled  it, and he was all hot and sweaty, so let fly a few sailor expletives and finally got it loose. I said, "Boy, that's gratitude for ya...the moquito jet/hawk was taking care of you, (and he must be pretty strong to ward off that mean jumbo jet of a horse fly), and then you go and say bad words like that. You better watch out or, and I have this on good authority, he'll sew your lips together, Cappy".  "Sew what??" he asked, as he kicked the boat into high gear, laid it down nicely onto the surface of the water, and said, "I've gotta get you home outa this heat; I think you are going buggy on me". An so I sez, with the cool breeze in my face blowing away the heat, "Yeah, mebbe I am, but now I've found my happy place. Soooo there an' soooo what."          


Mom's Mom

My Mother's Mom, Margaret Doris Ludwig, was an hoot! She was every bit 'the lady', and a good Christian woman, but when something 'ticked her off', she would often let loose with a volcabulary that could rival a sailor's. (like Cappy's... when he's 'ticked'.) After her husband passed away,  she was left with a nine year old daughter (Bev...the same age as I, Peggy) and a teenage son, who left for the Navy. Struggling financially for the next three or four years, it was then decided upon that she would come live with us, because my Dad was also having a difficult time, being a single parent trying to raise my brother and me by himself. On the surface, it might have looked rather strange; the "X-mother-in-law" moving in, but it was the perfect solution for all involved. At the time, my mother was 'out of the picture', and thus, unable to attend to the 'finishing touches' of raising us teenagers. I guess at the time, my brother and I had been running roughshod over our Dad, but when Grandma moved in, she put an abrupt end to that! She had raised five boys and two daughters, so she knew full well how to handle two brats. Three if you count Bev, but, (you ask Bev) Grandma would never believe that. (<:-p) So Bev and I were raised more like sisters. If I really wanted to get under Bev's skin, I'd call her "Auntie-Dear". (But I didn't do that often and we got along great...still do whenever we get to see each other.) I've always been envious that Bev had the benefit of Grandma being in her life, from day one, because Grandma was the most wonderful woman. So much fun, yet so nurturing and loving. When I was four years old and badly burned, I'm told that when they had to daily change my dressing, (which I do remember and never will forget) that everyone could hear my voice echoing through out the halls of the hospital, screaming, "I want my GRANDMA!!!" She said she just couldn't take it anymore, so, she had to leave when they did that.
    I had always loved my Grandma, and loved it when I could spend time at her house. It just so happened that I was at her house when I was burned. (My dress had caught fire on an old-fashioned hot water heater.) I'm sure that her fervant prayers helped pull me through, even after the doctors had given up on me and left me in the back hall of the hospital to die.
   So years later, when she came to live with us, she loved us too much to let my brother and me act the way we had been doing. She made sure our butts were sitting in church right next to her. She reinforced the table manners that our Mom had begun to teach us. She taught us responsibilty. And above all, she taught us to act respectably in public. That included dressing well for the occasion. Her purses always matched her shoes, which were neat and tidy. She took pride in the fact that someone had mentioned to her, "You always look nice and dress so well....even for a large woman".  Which she was . It seems most of the women in our family are "large". Sighhh. One thing I learned from her that means the most to me, to this day; whenever we left the house, she'd inspect how we looked, but more importantly, she'd expect a warm hug and kiss on the cheek. When we returned, she'd expect the same. I love that. I instilled that in my kids, too, because it's what she taught us, and it's her heritage. I'll bet all her grandchildren in my cousin's families do the same.
   Today, being Mothers' Day, of course I remember Mama, as I do every day. I love my mother dearly and miss her every single day that I'm without her and will, no doubt, until I see her again, in Heaven, if I'm found worthy to be there.  But today, I'm remembering Grandma, because it's Sunday...church day, and a couple of occasions popped into mind of the many, many times she took us to special meetings, besides regular church. She'd even take us to revival meetings. Bev and I really didn't like going to them. We'd be sitting there giggling and sure enough, somebody would try to drag us to the altar and force us to "give our hearts to the Lord and get saved". (It wouldn't be Grandma, tho'...she never preached; she lived her life the way the Lord taught us.)
 I said she was fun. Sometimes, she'd even get in on our giggling. There was one family at church, who were so stiff and rigid...kinda like the Church Lady on Saturday Night Live years ago. Pursed lips, 'needle' butt, as I like to say. (hah...I tend to be like that myself sometimes). One evening, their teenaged son sat directly in front of us, sitting up as straight as an arrow, every single hair slicked down...tight! Well, except for two of them. They made a perfect "V" on top of his head. We sat there for quite awhile staring at his head. The two hairs rebelling against conformity. Precisely impeccable...except for.... Finally, I leaned over and whispered to Bev, "I wonder what channel he's watching". So Bev giggled...and so did Grandma in spite of herself. We don't think he 'picked up' on us.
 Another memorable "special go to meetin' " night-time service found Bev and me accompanying Grandma, as usual. Sometimes sermons would be so poignant that they would bring tears to Grandma's eyes, at which point she'd daintily pull a tissue from her "decolletage" and lightly dab each eye. To keep us giggly 12 year old girls quiet, she'd often discreetly bring up sticks of yellow-wrapped Wrigley's peppermint gum from the same 'compartment', where she apparently stored many handy things. That seemed to be something that many of the older ladies used to do. She even had a small pocket watch attached to her bra by a little safety pin. Now on the evening in question, the preacher had most everyone's rapt attention,...and for quite awhile. A hush was all around and Grandma was deeply engrossed in the sermon going on, so when Bev whispered and asked for some gum, Grandma distractedly began ferreting things from out of her bosom, all the while keeping her eyes riveted up front, on the pastor. First she pulled up a wad of hankies, which she handed for Bev to hold, then she brought out some round red and white peppermint candies in cellophane wrappers and handed them over toward Bev's lap. Still concentrating on the pulpit, she began pulling out a very long, narrow, dark brown belt, which she had to pull wayyyyy up in the air, this way and that,  to completely free it. If Bev and I hadn't been rolling in the pew and snickering so hard Grandma never would have realized what she had been doing. Her arm fully extended over her head, belt in hand, she glared over at us, realized what she was doing, stuffed it into her lap, became immediately mortified and huskily whispered, "How did that get in there??" We wonder what all she might have had stored and would have pulled out if she hadn't noticed us 'misbehaving'. We don't know if anybody else noticed, but...how could they not?? Although the pastor never let on that he saw, how could he not have seen also? We three "girls" spent most of the rest of the sermon stifling giggles. (We probably should have just quietly gotten up and left, but we stayed instead.) Grandma was a pretty cool lady; she could laugh without making a sound, but her belly would shake, giving her away. I can't remember if we ever did get any gum that night. I think we were stuck with the wrapped candy and probably used the hankies to dry our eyes. I think the belt rode home in her purse... (which nicely matched her shoes).