Sunday, May 31, 2009

Got Rid Of Those Little Suckers...

Those southeast Texas mosquitoes do not like me and that is all right because I do not care for them either. When a mosquito alights on my arm, it stays for a second or two then flies away. I have not experienced a mosquito bite in more than fifty years. I wonder why but I do have a theory. Allow me to explain.

When I was a teenager growing up in Beaumont, my buddies and I often would drive over to Galveston for a day at the beach. Generally we stayed in Galveston late enough to eat supper at one of those fabulous seafood restaurants. Then after supper we enjoyed riding on the Bolivar ferry. In fact we enjoyed the ferry so much that usually we rode it back and forth several times. Since the ferry ride one way between Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula lasted about thirty minutes, we on occasion spent 2 to 3 hours riding the boat.

Now back to the mosquitoes and why I think that they do not like me. Since we guys spent so much time on those return trips riding the ferryboat, we would not arrive back to the intra-coastal canal bridge till around 11:00 P.M. And at a rule, the bridge would be open allowing tugs and barges to pass.

On this one particular evening, Jimmy Cassady and I were driving back to Beaumont from Galveston. Sure enough, when we reached the bridge, it had opened for some canal traffic. I decided that rather than wait in the car I would walk down to the water’s edge to get a better view of the transiting vessels. I always was fascinated by boats, ships and the like.

No sooner had I stationed myself at the canal’s bank than a humongous swarm of mosquitoes selected me for their late-evening snack. They covered both of my arms. I could see well enough from lights on the bridge that my arms were covered black with blankets of the buzzing invaders.

I slapped and slapped both arms with both hands. I brushed off the smashed little blood suckers and for a moment my arms appeared white. But then immediately they turned black again with a fresh wave of the vermin. Again I would slap and slap then rake off the mortally wounded.

This went on for a good 5 to 6 minutes. There is no telling how many hundreds of mosquitoes I slaughtered. But I grew weary of this game and returned to the car. Jimmy and I had to sit there for another 15 minutes for the vessels to pass and for the bridge to close so the automobile traffic could proceed.

When I arrived home that night and went into the bathroom to wash up, I saw a most startling sight. My arms were purple; not red but purple from literally hundreds of mosquito bites. I became alarmed and awakened my mother to show her my plight. She rubbed my arms with calamine lotion. She told me that the lotion would help to “tone things down.” I slept fitfully that night and the next day I felt all ragged out.

This experience as shared with you is the basis for my theory as to why mosquitoes have not bitten me in more than 50 years. Do you think it is feasible that the scent of destroyed ancestors still may be embedded in my flesh? If so, then this is why no sensible mosquito is going to bite me and run the risk of demise.

If you can come up with a better explanation, then let me hear from you.

Who knows? One of these nights, I may just “buzz off.”

Winston Hamby


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