Remembering Susie Sneakers I realize, I have become Annie Ariats out here in the country.
“I’ve got to be prepared,” I tell myself, “for fire ants.” Those tiny red devils chomp a bite leaving me to itch for hours or days. They leave blisters, too.
These Ariats do duty.
Susie Sneakers was a twelve-year-old girl in the juvenile fiction novel of the same name written by Scott Corbett. She went to visit her Aunt Sally, Uncle Gurney, cousins Blake and Julia at Cape Cod from the Midwest. Being from the Midwest she just couldn’t bring herself to dip into the ocean without her sneakers on. She hated the thought of who knows what nibbling at her toes. She didn’t like the scratchy bottom where broken shells lay that scratched her heels and barefoot soles. She also, didn’t care for fish nibbling at her ankles and calves but never gave in to wearing long pants to swim and wade in the ocean.
Yes, this Annie is wearing her Ariats and gloves too, to protect against spiders. Rick tells me there are little black widows in the rocks by the gate and reminds me to be careful. And then there’s the night he walked in through the back door announcing, “I don’t want to alarm you but I just killed a copperhead in the driveway.”
Surveying my dress for the day, shorts, my boots and thick socks, my girlie-girl daughter asked me, “What are you wearing?”
“My Ariats,” I reply. “I just can’t go barefoot outside of the house or wear flip-flops beyond the fence.”
“I hope you don’t go out [the gate] like that.”
“No, dear, I wear sandals to town.”
I’m getting better. Sometimes I see a bite, a scratch or blister and ask myself “hmmm…how did that happen?”
The black, flying form of a dirt dobber doesn’t phase me. But the yellow markings on a similar form warn me that’s a wasp buzzing around. I remain still, very still or if he insists on flitting about I carefully dash into the house.
A couple of weeks ago, on a conference call and just before break, I had to announce, “Excuse me, you all, there’s a wasp sharing desk space with me in the window casing. I’m stepping away for a can of Raid.”
And then, there are the harmless creatures: dragonflies, cardinals, mockingbirds, humming birds, lizards, frogs, bunnies.