Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Page of letters from the Internet

My very favorite Dr. Seuss book is ON BEYOND ZEBRA, a collection of letters which come AFTER Z (or should). They're formed to be kind of monograms of their own sounds. One of the letters is SNEE, like an S with a little knee attached.

And the story goes:
Then we go on to SNEE. And the SNEE is for Sneedle,
A terrible kind of ferocious mos-keedle

Whose hum-dinger stinger is sharp as a needle.

The Sneedle's too tough to be killed with a smack

So he has to be hunted on elephant back

And your eyes and the elephant's have to be keen

And you have to aim fast and you have to hit clean

And the bullet you shoot is a stale navy bean.

That you've soaked for an hour in old stale kerosene.
Would that it were so easy.

From my backyard:
June where we useta live always meant hibernation inside, outdoor clouds of OFF and DEET, and sinus-blasting floats of Avon Skin-so-Soft, reputed to have an absolutely get-away-from-me effect on the dreaded little critters, as folks braved the mosquito-infested lawns, gardens and any other space inhabited by blood-bearing prey. The Spring rains and all the low places and rice fields and the bayous contributed to the ceaseless "mosquito season," which lasted from the last freeze to the first frost, which killed off all but the most determined of the little menaces.

They've been known to come in with Christmas trees, baskets of greens, holly and ivy and honeysuckle, and even the swankiest of outdoor weddings Down South includes a basket of cans of repellent, (ours did) right there between the Julep Punch and the bucket of fancy fans.
My first courting "gift" from Chris, a few days after our first date, was a Bug-Zapper, which he installed on the patio of my house. He spread a big sheet of painter's plastic beneath it, just to gauge how many, and the first night's collection filled TWO QUART JARS.

So, amongst the butterflies-on-sticks and the ladybug boot-scrubber and the festoons of Summer-strung firefly and dragonfly lights in the trees of our yard here on balmy evenings---there, by rights, sits the TRUE State Bird of Mississippi---old Miz Mos-Keedle herself, in all her glory.

Copper shine and polished-stone prettifying can just do SO MUCH, and she's just as ugly on the surface as her intentions and her bite. She and the heat are the only two reasons I'm glad I'm FROM there---not there RIGHT NOW.


Southern Lady said...

Gotta love your Mos-Keedle, Rachel. We haven't been bothered by them YET, but it's a given that they're "out there" somewhere just biding their time, waiting to pounce.

I'd like to thank you for the sweet and gracious comment you left about my "Daddy's Garden" post today. Your kind words touched my heart, as always.

Tonja said...

Oh, yes, they are thriving here in the deep south. The spray truck comes by every week. We live on a private road, so we get him to come to our road twice a week!

I do not know this bood...but, to be sure, I will find it and add to my collection!

Keetha said...

Ha! You know you're right!

Goodness but it's already hot. Oddly enough, although I reside only 25 miles from the actual Delta, Winona, Miss. is happily mostly mosquito free. Since I work in the Delta, I feel like I get the best of both worlds.

Kim Shook said...

Lord, I remember walking with friends in the summer. We walk in a line, so that we could sweep the skeeters off each other's backs. Every so often, the front person would go around to the back, so that everyone would get a chance to have their backs 'swept'.