From gnats to bed bugs

Published 6:35 pm Tuesday, August 31, 2010

For a week now, I have been singing that show tune New York, New York.

“Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leaving today.”

As you read this, Donna Sue and I, if the Good Lord’s willing and the creeks don’t rise, will be in New York City celebrating our 10th Anniversary.

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We’re both excited. It’s not like we do something like this every year. It’s been quite a while since we celebrated this special occasion in such a splurging way. That’s a funny sounding word, that word “splurge.” It means to spend extravagantly and I’m such a cheapskate.

Sometimes I think that if I was in charge of the federal treasury, we could balance the budget in about two shakes of a lamb’s tail. I’m not asking for the job, though.

For about two or three years I have been checking out the YouTube video clips online about a musical called “Jersey Boys.” It’s the story of one of my favorite musical groups, The Four Seasons. That’s the group whose lead singer, Frankie Valli, sang those high, high notes and one of their big songs was “Sherry, Sherry Baby.”

We have tickets for that show on Broadway. A Bainbridge native, Wendell Brock, who has reviewed shows and other stuff for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, gave me some good pointers as to how to get the tickets.

We’re also going to see other things like the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, and, if I have the time, I am going to go by Ground Zero and try to get all this mosque controversy solved. I probably won’t get the mosque controversy “thing” done, but I expect to see all the other things and more.

Donna Sue has served as travel agent and, to no one’s surprise, has done a marvelous job. We’re flying out of Tallahassee, which surprised one of my church members, a very nice, elderly lady in Mitchell County.

Miss Udell, as I call her, was insistent Sunday morning as I was shaking her hand after the service.

“Now, you drive careful.”

Sure thing, Miss Udell!

The reaction to this wonderful trip has been mixed. I think it’s a gender issue and I understand it very well. All the ladies seem excited for me, almost envious. The men, on the other hand, seemed to say as they shrugged their shoulders, “You couldn’t find any better place to go?”

Like where?

Lake Seminole?

And, of course, there have been all the bed bug comments.

“Don’t let the bed bugs bite” is the old saying about those reddish-brown, oval-shaped insects. I had not heard about the infestation that was occurring in New York City, but it seems that is the case.

You mean that I’m flying all that distance and spending all that moolah and all that I am doing is exchanging the gnats for bed bugs?

I checked out bed bugs on the computer.

The dictionary said that bed bugs were “small, elusive, parasitic insects that feed preferentially on human blood! Though not strictly nocturnal, they are mainly active at night and are capable of feeding unnoticed on their hosts.”

Let me say this. Any blood-sucking animal might like the taste of my blood, but I don’t think that “sucker” is going to go unnoticed. A farmer friend of mine suggested that I take a small packet of malathion. Heck, I might just see if my daddy has any DDT from the old days.

It would be my luck that when I try to go through the airport security stations, my little baggie of malathion or DDT would be detected and I would be pulled out of the line and questioned as to why I was bringing such a dangerous substance on the plane. Was I a terrorist?

I might could tell the truth; that I was protecting myself against the bed bugs in New York City or I could say something crazy like, “I’m gonna take care of that mosque situation.” I’m sure that would go over well with the airline police.

Then you could read in the papers about the South Georgia homegrown terrorist who was planning to eradicate New York City of all its pests. I don’t think a little Ziploc baggie full of malathion could take care of all the problems in New York City.

As I write this, I have not left home yet. It’s early Monday morning and the trip will begin in just a few hours. I’ve got my Dramamine ready. I get motion sick fairly easily and figure on taking a tab of Dramamine or something to help me get up the nerve to fly. Come to think of it, I might need to take an extra tab for the trip up the Empire State Building.

Someone asked, “Are you going all the way to the top?” I don’t think so. They have an observatory level on the 86th floor and another observation point at the very top, 102nd floor. Those extra 16 floors cost another $15.

Two things: first of all my cheapskate-ism is showing. Plus, to a Georgia boy who grew up in a town where the tallest building was the four-story high Hand Trading Company Building, what’s the difference between the 86th and the 102nd floor. None.

I kind of wish Little Bit, our son and dog, could go. He really likes to experience new places and I think he would like NYC just as good as I will. But, I don’t think there will be enough room for him in the carry-on bag that Delta is so graciously not charging me an arm and a leg for. Also, we’ve spent lots of dough on keeping the fleas off him. Don’t want him sleeping with the bed bugs.

Ya’ll pray for us and, perhaps, I will experience something that I can tell you about when I get back.