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As Long as We Remember...

June 11, 2014

Big Sky Spectacular and Mosquitoes

Tom McLaughlin

Malta, Montana – We heard on the radio that there would be meteor shower from Comet Camel...etc. on Friday night. We were in the big, awesome sky of Montana, and we were not going to miss this show!


We obtained a blanket from my eldest daughter, who is in her second trimester, and preferred to sack in early. My number two daughter, Christine, who was here for a two week visit, my wife Suriani and I decided we would stay up past midnight to watch the spectacle.


We all laid down on the blanket in the front yard of away from the lights. The only visible illumination was the flash of lightening from where the prairie met the sky off in the distance. We waited for our eyes to adjust to the darkness. Fortunately, there was a hole in the clouds above us giving us a view.


We faced south and the performance began. At first we saw small flickers of light, some red, some blue that lasted a nano second. They were just a hint of flashes in the darkness, not giving us any time to alert the others.


Then a large, white, comet-like feature would spread across the sky giving us a spectacular view of the long white tail that disappeared into the distance. This lasted about 30 seconds. Then, back to the flickering.


A second one streaked across, then a third, fourth and fifth as they dazzled us with the celestial masterpiece. We watched for about an hour as the hole we were watching through gradually closed and the lightning flashes came closer. After about an hour or so of watching, we retired to our beds, happy that we saw a major event in the Big Sky country.


* * * * * * * * *


Everywhere, north eastern Montana – Mosquitoes! We were lucky enough to come to north eastern Montana before the bug season began. However, as the Memorial Day weekend cruised in, the mosquitoes came out in earnest.


Having lived in the Tropics for the past six years, I thought I would be prepared for any bug that Montana could throw at me. After all, mosquitoes where we live in Malaysian Borneo were a fact of life. Not these.


They attacked in groups of three, four or five. Big buggers about an inch long and hungry. They covered my bare legs, arms and even tried to bite through the thin t-shirt I was wearing.


I flung my arms in a wild flailing and brushed them off my son and wife, but they still kept coming. We rushed into the house thinking the world had gone berserk. They hovered in clouds outside the kitchen window daring us to come out.


One morning, I walked out to the garden to water the plants, usually a minor affair so early, and they attacked again, with me waving my arms with one hand trying to attach the sprinkler to the hose with the other. The mosquitoes won as after three of four tries I made a hasty retreat back into the house.


My daughter asked me if I sprayed. I said no, I couldn't connect the hose to the sprinkler. She meant the bug spray one applied to one’s self before even daring to visit the outside. I said no as I hated the stuff, an oily mess that smelled like gasoline. Besides, I was dressed in my sarong and thought I could make a quick trip.


It was not be. I will wear my mosquito spray every time I go outside from now on!


...Life is good. . . . .


Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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