I visited my ancestral home last weekend to attend the graduation of my niece.
We stayed with my parents in the home where I grew up, in the heart of Kansas' Flint Hills. It's always nice going back there visit. My childhood home is in a wooded area next to a stream. The house was originally built in 1875 on a plot of ancient river bottom that also was home to apple and pear orchards and vineyards. Even today, two 100-year old pear trees still bear fruit every fall.
It was a great environment to grow up in. The hills and woods provided an ample supply of communists for a 12-year-old and his friends to hunt and kill in our quest to repel a Red Dawn-type of Russian invasion (nowdays, kids probably fight off imaginary Islamoradicals. Well, actually, they're probably too busy playing Grand Theft Auto IV to spend anytime using their imaginations and being out-of-doors, but that's a different post).
I like taking my daughter there, fishing in the stream and hiking in the woods. Spotting giant herons, crawdads, bullfrogs and snakes.
We did all that this passed weekend. But my nostalgia had filtered out a certain little menace.
They seem to be particularly thick and bad this year. Saturday, getting ready for bed, I picked a middle sized one off my Supermodel Wife's lower back. The next day I found one crawling across my jeans.
The kiddo didn't escape the pestilence either. During bath time Sunday morning, I saw what looked like a mole on her chest. But I didn't remember seeing a mole there before.
"Come closer and let me check out that spot, I think it might be a tick, " I told her.
Not what she wanted to here.
"I don't what you to look at it because I'm afraid if you look at it it will be a tick," she said, worried almost to tears.
I called in reinforcements in the form of my Supermodel Wife, who checked out the spot while I held the kid still. Sure enough, a tiny tick had started it's bloodsucking activities on the flesh of my daughter.
We picked the little bugger off and with the minor emergency over went about attending the day's graduation activities.
But for the entire rest of the day I couldn't shake the feeling of tiny insect legs crawling all over me.
tagged: wildlife, tick, Flint Hills, parenting