Monthly Archives: June 2014

A Child’s Umbrella

A low pressure system has been stuck out in the Gulf, and folks have been waiting for some days for the reported high pressure system now in Texas to nudge its way to the east, to head across Louisiana, its swamps and oil fields, miles of refineries, to finally sail over the top of southern Mississippi.

As the weather in the Gulf dances its own zydeco two step, staying largely in place with the waves below and clouds above, the rain comes down here on the coast in sheets and buckets and then stops. And then starts again. All the while, it is very warm. This is not, not at this time of the year, like the coast of Ireland. That will come later in February.

So on a humid early morning, walking toward the front steps of St Rose, carrying the only umbrella I could find (bright blue, child size), I see the line-up of umbrellas standing just outside the front door. They are leaning upright and awaiting turns like kids at the end of a school day, maybe only then noticed for who they are, redeemed, made useful once again.

There is a locally famous politician at the service, sitting in the back. It is voting day for the local Primaries. I hadn’t seen him here before in my short tenure. When Mass ends, we all stand outside under the front portico for a few brief moments. The locally famous politician shakes hands, mine too, and I notice his hand feels thick, calloused, as if he had worked for years as a tradesman, though I imagine the roughness comes from the countless hands gripped and released over his years of service.

I watched as he walked away down the sidewalk, the small crowd dispersing, heading for their cars. He was by himself. He had muttered that it was going to be a long day.

It was a very humid Mississippi morning. Someone made a joke about preparing their ark.

I learned later that he had lost the election. He had been, for many, their best hope in this place.

Flight of the less-than-bees

We didn’t get the memo about turning out the lights. So when we encountered our first termite swarm, predictable, so they say, in the month of May, I regretted having the automatic motion detector in the side yard.

It could have been a classic western new york snow squall, the kind that you see under the lights, hoping that school and work will be cancelled the following day. When they flew en masse, the light did what it was made to do, shine brightly, which attracted ever more of the small winged insects.

The termites, as well, were doing what they were programmed to do—emerge from the ground, fly for the few moments of life yet remaining in the hopes of mating on such a warm and humid night, with the the frogs beginning their second chorus, adding now a bass section.

It did not help to yell hysterically at the light. Windows, doors and screens do not fully keep them out of the home. They are too small, too much in heat. Too many of them get in.

It was the talk of the small community at St Rose the following morning. A number of them lay dead in the sacristy. An elderly man, accustomed to the annual invasion, said he just got under the covers till morning. “You turn out your lights,” he said.

“Not to worry,” they all say, it doesn’t mean, necessarily, that your home has become infected. It would be nice to delete ‘necessarily’. “You just vacuum them up the next day.” And the one following that. And every now and then, when I look down at the floor, or windowsill…