And just like that, it’s September, with all the inherent dangers that come with it.
Like yellow jackets. Now, I didn’t write Yellow Jackets, like the ones that represent the North Avenue Trade School. They aren’t very dangerous to anyone. Not this year. They proved that last Thursday night up near Frank Howard’s Rock. That said, local Conyers boy Geoff Collins’ Bees WILL get their first win Saturday against South Florida. It won’t be his last.
But I was referring to those nasty little insects that tend to nest in the ground and develop a particularly bad attitude this time of year. Run over a nest with a lawn mower and prepare to cuss and be in pain for a while.
When I was in second grade my playmate, Linda King, and I were taking turns in and out of a red clay gully near our houses and jumped right on top of a swarm. We both got bit from here to yonder and our faces swelled up until we were unrecognizable. Her mama, Mrs. Betty, chewed up cigarettes and dabbed tobacco all over us while we were waiting on Dr. Mitchell to get there and put more tobacco on us. I haven’t cared for yellow jackets since, and we are approaching the time of year that they are at their worst.
Of course the real danger this time of year for folks who live anywhere near the Southern Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico are the tropical storms and hurricanes that begin as mere waves off the coast of Africa, start their terrible counter clockwise movement, suck up energy from the warm Atlantic and grow into monsters, wreaking havoc and bringing death and destruction to all in their path.
All my life I have watched the maps and listened to the weathermen with wonder and amazement and have vivid memories of the most infamous of the storms. Shortly after Camille paid her deadly visit to the Gulf Coast I took a drive down to Biloxi to see the empty foundations where strong buildings had once stood and metal road signs sticking through thick palm trees and thought I would never see anything worse — but I did.
Hugo. Andrew. Katrina. Sandy. Michael.
Charleston. Homestead. New Orleans. New Jersey. Southwest Georgia.
Heck, Hurricane Opal visited my back deck and driveway back in the ’90s.
Over and over and over the storms rage. We watch and wait and hope and pray that the storm will veer away from us and those we know and love and we pray for those in the path, but we can’t help but be amazed at the devastation that is wrought.
Given my druthers, I’d much rather take my chances with another swarm of yellow jackets.
Lord, please deliver us from Hurricane Dorian, Thy will be done.