Posted: September 29, 2003 in Everything

It was like a plague! Friday night my garage was the Red Cross for mosquitoes in need of a fresh blood transfusion. My wife and I spent the evening hours Friday staining a newly bought dresser and changing table for our soon-to-arrive tax deduction. We thought it would be a good idea to save a few hundred dollars and stain the dresser ourselves. So after work Friday, we tucked our dog away in the backyard, opened the garage door for fresh air and popped open a new can of Rosewood stain.

I thought the staining would take about an hour–it took three. It was a three-hour buffet of blood, and every mosquito in Houston must have been on the guest list. We sanded, scrubbed and stained as these flying vampires feasted on our flesh.

A funny thing happened while Rochelle and I allowed ourselves to be dinner for bugs. I was reminded of my childhood along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. My brother and I were children of the outdoors, it was the only place we wanted to be. From sunrise to sunset we longed to be outside and my legs are permanently scarred from the thousands of mosquito bites I endured as a child. A minute taken to put on insect repellent was a minute too long for a third grader. I would bolt out the door without any preparation and my arms and legs paid the price.

The memory of each of those scars is special to me. They remind me of drippingly humid afternoon baseball practices that soaked through sunset into evening. Those marks remind me of playing touch football under the glowing street lamps of El Camino Drive. The world, at least my slice of it, was a safer place then. The dark of night posed no greater threat than the noon-day sun. That’s why my legs bear their scars. We would play baseball, ride dirt bikes, and throw footballs under the dawning moon of the Mississippi summer.

Childhood has to be the best part of life! For His own divine reasons, God calls us into His banquet table and let’s us eat dessert first.

I suppose the mosquitoes of Friday night swarmed at a good time for me. I was reminded of the wonderment of my childhood as Rochelle and I prepare for childhood again. Hopefully, our hearts can regain the daring playfulness and moments of miracles that are so often lost in adulthood. More importantly, we hope that our child can experience a childhood of beauty and magic.

The early years of my life are among my fondest memories. I was blissfully ignorant of war, death, taxes and mortgages. All there was was summer, baseball and mosquitoes.


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