While sitting here is the Mississippi Delta, memories come back of days of old when the summers were long, hot, humid and slow. Growing up here, as with anywhere, you just get used to the weather and anything else the region has to offer. One of the many things that Mississippi is known for is its population and size of mosquitoes. If you were not from the area; if the high temperatures and humidity did not leave you utterly miserable, the mosquitoes would surely do the trick. No idea how we survived as children but not only did we survive, we thrived and had the best summers ever. Trust me, it was not all as miserable as it might sound or be portrayed. Here are a couple of things that I recall from when I was growing up in the Delta: parades (marching bands were huge down here), football (was and still is very popular … high school football that is …), snowballs/snowcones, ice cream trucks, watermelon, festivals (catfish, craw-fish, hot tamale), cousins, bicycles, church and mercy me … barbecue!
Now here is one that we might not be too proud of but hey, we are all still here to live and to tell about it. In the late evenings, when the sun would have ebbed and cooled its scorch of the land, a distinct sound of the city’s attempt to abate the mosquito population could be heard in almost every neighborhood. It was-the ‘skeeter truck. This was a pick up truck that was out-rigged with a motor that would spray a white cloud of foggy spray up and down the neighborhood streets. Children would run outside to play, run, and ride bikes in the fog and wave at the driver who usually had his window and returning the wave. Children would wave at this driver in the same manner they would wave at the driver of the ice cream truck. My parents did not allowed us to run and ride up and down the streets or be out after dusk dark, except when the cousins would visit. I suppose there was safety in numbers or they did not want us to run their grass down by riding bikes around the house in a circle as if the circus had come to town. However, we would be sitting outside in our yard when the truck would come by and we would just sit there like stone statues watching a parade… inhaling fumes and carrying on like this was normal; and for us it was.
What I am not sure of is whether or not DDT had been outlawed by then. Even so, it is just not good to sit in any chemicals at any time!! Yet, I lived to tell the story/memory.