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  • Dear Pippo,

    I hope this letter finds you well and free of rips in your seams. I am fine.

    I really enjoyed accompanying you to the countryside for your photo shoot in the bluebonnets. I see that you have posted a picture of the event. Thank you for inviting The Wife, The Boy, and several of the girls from the children’s home for this activity. My only constructive criticism of the picture that you posted is concerning the placement of the red flower. It makes you look like you are submitting a picture to a “Who can look like Adam in the Garden of Eden?” contest.

    We agree it is quite challenging to navigate the local highways and byways around Central Texas during the bluebonnet season. You never know when someone ahead of you is going to slam on the brakes, skid to a halt, and unload prospective photoees like a Volkswagen full of circus clowns (Authors note to my Obsessive-Compulsive readers—you know who you are—don’t waste your time, I just made up the word “photoees”. However, if a few million of you will adopt the use of this word, Merriam-Webster will put it in the dictionary).

    A word of advice to those who would have their pictures taken in a field of bluebonnets. Fire ants do not care if bluebonnets are covering their work area. In fact, they probably enjoy the shade and the lovely fragrance of the flowers. What they don’t enjoy (and they never have) is someone stepping on or sitting on their labor intensive ant hill. Especially sitting on them. It’s the same amount of shade, but the fragrance tends to be a little less…uh…fragrant. Just because there are pretty flowers everywhere doesn’t mean the ants are at the beach on South Padre for Spring Break. And yet everyone looked so surprised and hurt (literally) when vengeance was meted out by these angry insects on those of us considered trespassers and home wreckers (Calm down, Pippo. When I said “home wreckers” I meant it literally. We weren’t running off to Vegas with their fire ant spouses.) Don’t distract me…as I said, especially in danger are the sitters. You could find yourself doing a strip tease for free right on the side of the road—and not care that you are doing it. In addition, you would soon after be putting some Neosporin in some rather (ahem!) unusual places when you arrived home. To top that off, as the ant bites began to heal, one would have to find innovative ways to scratch the itchy spots that inevitably follow. You wouldn’t want to admit being dumb enough to sit on a fire ant hill, so you would make up some unbelievable story—but even that would make people think you have some dreaded skin disease. Then you would get the Ricky Ricardo treatment from your friends and relatives—“Luuuuuucy! You got some ‘splaining to do!

    I mentioned the girls who went with us on this little outing. The Wife came up with this idea that we would take the girls’ pictures sitting on one of our living room chairs on the side of the road among a group of bluebonnets. (No, I meant the girls would be doing the sitting. We would be standing to take the picture. We aren’t that lazy. Anyway, I didn’t mean to dangle my modifiers—no offense intended to you or our literalist readers). I guess the pictures looked ok, but I’m sure we turned some heads as these girls sat in the armchair placed on the side of the highway. I admit I was tempted to sit on that chair by the side of the road all alone 10 miles from anywhere and five miles from nowhere and wave at the people. I wonder what would go through their minds?

    We should mention the other danger to life and limb while taking these pictures on the side of the road. It is human nature to lean forward like this “(“ when taking a picture. However, when a car zips past some 10 feet from your backside at 70 m.p.h. while you are trying to focus, it makes you quickly shift to this position “)”. The trick is to make the transition to “)” in at least a millisecond before the oncoming vehicle yanks loose a couple of your back belt loops in your jeans. The traffic got pretty heavy for a bit and I felt like we were going like this “(“ zoom! “)” zoom! “(“ zoom! “)”. One truck came by pulling a travel trailer and we all had to go like this “>” to keep from getting blown into the ditch. That’s too close for comfort for me.

    The motorcyclists were out in force today as well. I really get confused with the new and very popular tricycle type motorcycles. Some of them have the wide axles in the front with the single wheel in the back, and others have the wide axles in the back and the single wheel in the front. It’s especially confusing when riders of both of these types of cycles congregate in a mixed group. I can’t tell who is coming or going. Wouldn’t it be funny if you hired some stunt people to ride these three wheelers sitting backwards to really mess folks up? In fact, I figure it is only a matter of time before some manufacturer combines the wide front axle of one of these three wheel cycles to the wide rear axle of the other kind of three wheel cycle. Then some genius will add side doors, a top, and a larger rear storage area in the back for the new upgraded unit. Throw in an air conditioner and a heater and you would have…well…I guess you would have a Honda Civic.

    Following the picture taking session, we retired to the nearest community with more than one restaurant (some 20 miles away). We “quiero’d” Taco Bell (put down the Spanish-English dictionary—I made that word up, too). Of course, we were still pulling the trailer that had the living room chair on it. Some guy asked me about it on the way in to the restaurant. I told him it was a mother-in-law seat. From the look on his face, I could tell he was a married man but unable to afford such a luxury. He went away sorrowfully.

    So now, Pippo, as we settle in for the evening I know you will enjoy looking at all of the pictures we took. I sincerely hope the ant bites heal quickly (Put the Neosporin on a Q-tip. Just sayin.) I’ll probably be up a while longer since I drank two large Mountain Dews at Taco Bell. I have typed this letter in about 60 seconds. At the same time I was playing Solitare, watching the Three Stooges, buying penny stocks on the phone, and River Dancing. I think it’s gonna be a long night.


    Bit N. Behind and his band, The Pickled Pollinators
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