Thursday, October 27, 2011


How we have risen in the world, from the flappy old screens of feed-store giveaways, bent with vigorous use, hanging behind everybody’s door, to shapes and colors and materials of another age, while the flies go merrily onward, unchanged in a million years.

My long-time e-mail friend in Arkansas sent me a picture of her fly-swatter, a little grab-bag gift from one of those home parties, and she asked one of those “Do you remember the time . . ?” questions about our high-school days---this one concerning homecoming, a flat-bed trailer and miles of crepe paper.     I replied with quite a few memories of such and similar fun small-town outings from my own bulgy memory banks.

Then, somehow I segued into fly-swatters themselves---about as dry a subject as a regent's horsehair chownree---but I enjoyed delving into the little silly memories.   All our Grands have just LOVED them, beginning with Gracie quite a few years ago.   I bought a hot-pink one, fresh and pliable, for her use when she was still chewing drippily on everything she could raise to her mouth, and wanted so badly to get those itchy little gums on the big one hanging in the utility room.

So she had her own never-used, never-flapped one, and she gnawed it stem to stern, even leaving little tooth-dents all up the handle after she sprouted incisors.

THEN she discovered a horde of little moths which had invaded the house about this time of year---they somehow arrived, swooped about the downstairs, lit on walls and other pale surfaces (the more stupid they, since they are most visible and killable there).    She named the bugs FLOOS for some reason---sounds reasonable to me---and chased them for DAYS, dispatching them unmercifully.   She’d go get her floo-flapper and have at it.  She climbed chairs, she jumped and swung, she left gray smudges on every wall in the house.   

I followed her from room to room with a Lysol spray and a handful of paper towels.    Now I wish I’d left just ONE little smudged reminder.   I could have just hung a little picture over it, so as to uncover and remember now and again.

She did NOT, however, use her dear Pinkie for this purpose.   It is still sacred, and hangs on a special nail, high up in the utility room, so no one will use it by mistake.  It has taken on the status of a well-loved bankie and will probably travel with her to college and into her first home as part of her trousseau.

I, on the other hand, have a first-class green one, a gift from Chris when he saw her enjoyment of hers.   MINE has teensy plastic teeth like a very delicate single line of Astroturf, sticking off the wide end, and is to be used as a fly-scooper-upper, in conjunction with the too-too precious two-inch dustpan which snaps on just where flap meets handle.   It is the Rolls Royce of flappers, with its own little Susie Homemaker Barbie tools.  

So, my friend has a fun bit of froufrou; Gracie has a piece of history from her infancy, and I, the plebeian bug-getter, have the utilitarian work-horse.   

And now Sweetpea has had her own for quite a while---a little doll-face in a stiff bonnet.   No flies for her, either---Flappy sits erect and attentive in her small chair as Sweetpea teaches numbers and letters to all her compadres from the toy tub.


Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

lol, I have a lot of memories around the fly swatter but mine was mostly used to swat those miss behaving little bottoms, when we had company and they got to showing out...Never hurt but rustling against that diaper sure scared them straight.

Beverly said...

Rachel, I admit I cringed when I read the title fly swatters. Why? Because that is what my mother used to swat me when I was a little girl. And, yikes. It caused quite a sting.

But, only you could make fly swatters fun, pleasantly useful and even pretty.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

These are all so cute! I'm from Arkansas so I can appreciate a good fly swatter! heehee! THANK YOU so much for helping me identify the Milo this morning! I've updated my post to give the info and mention you! Hugs! ♥

Patsy said...

So cute a story and about a fly swatter. I will never look at my fly swatter the same way

Kouign Aman said...

Great stories!

We gots fly shooters, and fly zappers in our family. The zapper looks like a badminton racket and operates on batteries. People get positively addicted to it.

The child had a couple fly swatters but they've been borrowed longterm by our houseguest. She's got her students using them as pointers in races to point out the correct answer in class!

You make me want to go buy another one, just because.

Southern Lady said...

I've missed you, Rachel. Hope all is well with you.

Jeanne said...

Good morning Rachel, Your fly swatter story is very amusing. How well I remember them and those things that hung from the ceiling that caught flies in our farm house kitchen. You have made them a fun memory with the flowers and shapes that make them fun. Not to mention the fun Sweetpea has had playing and smacking moths. I happen to have one that is in the shape of a heart and almost useless when it comes to capturing and smacking a fly. HA! I have to resort to a big old flapper that I can never find when I need one. So an old newspaper comes in handy.

The oval platter on my entertainment center is very old. Probably the late 18th century. It belonged to my mother and it is covered in butterflies. It is Chinese and it is called 1000 butterflies. You have a good eye because it is very beautiful and very rare. If you Google 1000 butterflies plates or platter from China, you will get a close look at the pattern. My mom loved butterflies and she purchased the platter and paid $100. A good investment because it is worth up to $2,000 now. You see plates but never the platter. It is a museum piece by now. It is a treasure because my mom loved that platter so much.

We are still in FL and we will be home on Sunday after the game on Saturday. Two of our dtrs. live in FL. so we are loving our visit here.

Have a happy week dear Rachel.
Love, Jeanne

racheld said...

I wiah all of y'all a happy November. computer's out---this barbie keyboard of laptop drives me bats, so am without communication right now. e-mail address is in my profile if you need me.

hope this goes through---feels like a desert island here.


Southern Lady said...

I am relieved to know it is just a computer problem keeping you away. I know what you mean about laptop keyboards. Even though I have a wireless mouse, mine drives me up the wall when I have to use it.

Hope you'll be back soon. The days are not the same without a Rachel story.