I recently traveled back east to Western New York and Pennsylvania, where my family lives, and spent a month with them. After a six-month deployment in the Western Pacific, I certainly deserved the vacation.
My mom and 14-year-old brother live on a farm in Erie County, Pennsylvania, with my mom's intimate friend of nearly ten years, who owns the farm. The topography of that part of the country has always impressed me with its beauty — the trees, the rolling hills, the fields of corn and alfalfa; it's just remarkable what the combined efforts of evolution and human interference can do. But the farm where I spent much of my vacation has one major drawback that will always make me reluctant to return to this "Eden" — FLIES!
Never in my life have I seen so many flies in one place. Now mind you, my mom is quite a stickler for having a clean house, and applies her religious devotion not only to the house but to the barn as well. So where do all those flies come from? What is it about this place that seems to attract the entire fly population of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth? You've all heard of the Lord of the Flies? Well, this place must be the Castle of the Flies.
As I sit out on the patio listening to a tape of Country and Western songs I recorded for my mom, the flies seem to ignore the fly-catcher strips that hang above my head. There is a weapon, though quite a primitive one, that seems to be effective. Armed with this weapon, I can at least kill a few of these pests. The weapon is available in hardware stores and even in some supermarkets. The one I'm using is manufactured by Laidlaw Corporation of (Superfly, beware!) Metropolis, Illinois. The weapon: the good, old-fashioned fly swatter. While the fly swatter is effective, there is a certain efficiency lacking, for which I would trade the swatter's primitive effectiveness.
Insecticides, flytraps (other than Venus)? Sure, my mom uses them. Some of them manage to kill a few more flies than the swatter, but others seem to attract more flies without killing them. If there were a God, then I'd say that God created flies as a curse on civilized human beings.
Will I ever return to this place? I guess as long as my family is here I will, but I would probably be more inclined to have them come out to sunny San Diego.
Navy man CHANCELLOR ROBERTS has his copy of THE ECPHORIZER delivered each month to his ship, the USS New Orleans, wherever it may be. He plans to get out of the service in 1988.
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