CAWTHON'S CATHARSIS - The Gypsy Moth and Afternoon (PM) Sickness

(07/08/2001)

By Jack Cawthon

The Gypsy Moth has become a serious pest in many parts of the state. Each year there is extensive spraying to control its spread, and this cycle has been going on for several years now. I became concerned that the effects of such spraying might have harmful effects on the people who live in proximity of the forestland so treated.

However, I am sure our government leaders would not conduct such operations if they weren't safe, and I am inclined, as I was with Nixon, to trust them. But I have always had an enquiring mind ever since my student days at Glenville State. I served as a part-time night watchman, and I would often sneak into the college library between my rounds and by the light of my five-cell flashlight peruse the then current research of Dr. Kinsey, which at that time was receiving considerable press coverage as the subject was one always found titillating by the press.

I must admit my research was theoretical as I always found the proper applied research subjects illusive, especially those who harbored my scientific dedication.

But I digress about my current Gypsy moth study. I decided to do an on-site investigation for you readers of the Hur Herald. Such research, in keeping with the quantity and quality of readership that I detect here was sorely confined to only one family living in one remote holler, hardly sufficient to allow my publishing in a scientific journal for lack of statistical probabilities and the added probability that I couldn't publish anywhere else even if my life depended on it.

A young couple I will call Clebert and Dremalene live over on Little Wheeze Crick with their twin sons Ortie and Ottie. The evening was as hot as a well driller's blast when I visited with them, and we all sat out on the porch in the cool evening breeze.

Ortie and Ottie are the cutest little things. Ortie has three of the prettiest blue eyes and Ottie has three arms that always seem in motion. Clebert and Dremalene are in their early 30s and intend to marry someday.

After some small talk we got around to the purpose of my visit to inquire about Gypsy moth spraying. Clebert said the moth had become a real problem until the state began spraying two or three years back.

Drema said she had first noticed the spray one day when she was hanging out clothes. She was a few months pregnant with the twins at that time. She had heard a low-flying plane overhead and had her hand up to wave, thinking the National Guard was coming back for maneuvers.

Clebert interrupted to explain about the time the Guard airplane came over and Drema was out sunbathing behind the chicken house. Three guys jumped out without parachutes. "Drema's got a nice bod," he beamed. She blushed as crimson as a red herring at a McCarthy hearing and said, "Yeah, it's a real curse sometimes. Sure was a mess scrapin' them men up." Clebert gave me a wink that only we men can fully appreciate.

Drema went on with her story. She had begun to wave when a fine mist came settling down over her. She said she later began to feel real dauncey like the time she drank a quart of Blue Ribbon on an empty stomach, and she must have slept two or three days straight. Ol' Doc Abalsom, the local yarb doctor, prescribed pokeberry poultices and after she had experienced a few blue days, which she said resembled "thet there afternoon sickness that women go through,"( PM disorder, she thought it was called) she began getting her strength back.

When Dreama went inside to fetch some cold drinks, Clebert leaned over and in a low voice asked if I had noticed anything peculiar about the twins. I hemmed and hawed, having never learned to Gee at a major university, and said I guessed not. He said I probably wouldn't notice anything out of the ordinary until I was around them a spell.

He said Ottie was having trouble talking. For the longest time he went around shouting "Stroh! Stroh! Stroh!" They finally figured out he wanted a bottle. He said Ortie wasn't potty trained very well as he kept using the cat's litter box, but he figured he would outgrow it.

When I started to leave, Ortie was winking his center eye at me and Ottie was waving bye-bye with all three of his little hands.

My informal study proves we can all rest easy tonight knowing that the Gypsy moth is under control, at least on Little Wheeze Crick. The trees are a pretty green with all their foliage intact. But as I walked down the holler and breathed heavily of the night air I felt a certain giddiness hard to describe-almost like something in the air.


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