Aunt Alice – Desert Enemies


© by Alice Delaney Walker


Feb. 1, 1990



“I don’t want to squish them, I want to annihilate them!” I say standing before my open refrigerator door staring at what turns out to be four light-colored tiny ants busily running in a circle at my toes.  BUGS.

I hate bugs. Their sudden appearance at my feet, with not the most minute piece of food visible, outraged me.

It is exciting but frustrating to live in the Gulf, although many times I have been ready to abandon my childhood dream of living overseas and all possible future exotic, improbable, delicious or outrageous events which might befall me in this country of deserts and camels.  Now it was ants.  But I had had a good day, so spraying them with Baygon solved that problem.

Then it was popcorn. I was homesick for Sunday night television with my six sisters and parents as we ate popcorn and drank root beer while watching James Garner in “Maverick.”  I opened the American-made, vacuum-packed can of popcorn.  Something was moving in the can. I shook it.  Bugs.  I screeched and jumped across the room, laughing and crying.  I had not had a good day.

I was fine for months on this issue.   Until I bought some garlic.  I’m over 30.  I’ve used garlic back home for decades.  I thought I had garlic under control.

I stood at my underused kitchen counter and noticed one of the cloves looked spoiled.  I shrugged, yanked another one from the group.  What happened to be a brown fly casually walked out of the garlic, then around my cutting board.  I was quickly across the room again.  Garlic was suppose to PROTECT me from such surprise encounters!  I had not had a good week.

I now take my more seasoned friend’s advice and store most everything in plastic bags, in the refrigerator.  But I must admit, the very thought of squishing a local, full-bellied, yellow-blooded, long-legged, flying colossal cockroach annihilates me!  Luckily, none of those have found their way into my home.  And if they do, let’s hope I have had a good month!

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