5.28.2012

SEW WHAT??

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."          

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