Saturday, August 12, 2017

Don't Go In The Bushes

In the late 1800s somewhere as I recall my grandfather Thomas Higginson was born. When he had his son, he named him Thomas Higginson Jr. My mom and dad put the same amount of time into thinking up a name for me so I'm the Third. When my son was born, it seemed that Thomas was working fine so far, didn't cause me any problems so my son is the Fourth. A few days ago Linda brought my 15 year old grandson down to visit for a few days. His name?

On Wednesday night I ask Tom if he'd like to go kayaking. He said yes. We haul a two seater down to the river, brave the mosquitoes and we're in the water. Once you're in the water they mostly leave you alone except for a stray mosquito here and there. It was nice in the river.
Four or five years ago Gary who took my place as President of Let's Play when I retired and I were kayaking one day and when we got in the river we got butchered by mosquitoes but once we got in the middle of the river there was nothing for miles. As we kayaked along there was this small green caterpillar that was stuck to my end of the kayak. He almost got washed over four or five times but kept fighting and trying to climb higher. I put him on my hand and lifted him to a dry part of the kayak. I told Gary we needed to pull over on the next island just for a minute. There was this little green caterpillar that had a great heart and I wanted to get him to dry land.

We landed on a sandbar that had some thick foliage 50 feet or so in. Not wanting him to be out in the open and vulnerable I headed over to the tamarisk and set him gently on a branch. It was instant. I heard the loud buzz and saw hundreds of mosquitoes taking off and heading for me. The little green caterpillar was probably dead instantly getting all his blood sucked out. I ran for the kayak where Gary was relaxing. I yelled "Go, go. Don't wait for me. Go. I'll swim and catch up." Gary said "What's the problem?" I said "Go." It was too late.

Day turned to night as the sky filled with thousands of mosquitoes. We couldn't breath without sucking some of them in. By the time I got in the kayak Gary's back was a solid mass of mosquitoes. As we paddled for the middle of the river, losing a pint of blood every ten or fifteen seconds, I took my paddle and threw water on Gary's back over and over. When we got to the middle of the river and the swarm died down and the sky got bright again there were hundreds of drowned mosquitoes floating around in the kayak. Lesson learned.

Five years later as Tom and I rounded the corner of my favorite island with a nice big sandbar on the end of it I suggested we take a break for a minute. We pulled up and I took a picture of Tom standing next to the kayak. When I next looked, he wasn't there. I turned around and he was walking into the tamarisk. I was afraid to yell for fear of waking up the horde. If only he doesn't touch something.




He touched something. There were hundreds of mosquitoes on us instantly. Tom was smacking them but by the time he'd kill one there'd be 30 more. It took some convincing him that escaping was our only option and we had to get in the river and to the middle. I was throwing water on his back and drowning them 20 at a paddle.

As we approached Base Camp beach I told him our strategy is to drag the kayak on shore and then run for our lives. As I was walking up the hill to the lodge Tom was a couple hundred feet in front of me and I could smell mosquito repellent being sprayed in the air.

When I moved here I was allergic to everything that had a bite, needle, or irritant of any sort. I've built up a lot of immunity over the years but I get too much of some of them and it's Benedryl time or ER. We must be related because here's Tom five minutes after we got back to the lodge.





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