We came home from the wars–that is to say Cabo San Lucas–in 1999, after a sojourn there of five years. But in Lemon Cove, where we landed, my battles with Nature continued. You might even say the front expanded–to 96 acres.
We moved in to an ancient, tatterdemalion farm house in a citrus grove owned by my in-laws; after a few years, in lieu of rent we agreed to maintain it. Because they did so grudgingly. When we arrived the grounds resembled the image I’ve always held of Guadalcanal, and battle–almost instantly–was joined.
First came the chilling discovery that, like Cabo, these parts are home to the fearsome tarantula wasp. At this latitude, mercifully, they aren’t much larger than the average honey bee. Now, those bees were a real problem. My in-laws had decided it was appropriate to lease space near the house to a bee keeper. Never mind their five grandchildren, or that the bees tended to hive above the front door. We couldn’t do anything about this because, for years, they told us the poor keeper had no other place to situate them. It was only after some time that it was accidently revealed they were collecting a fee. What finally resolved the Great Bee Invasion in our favor was my in-laws’ realization that the bees might be cross-pollinating their seedless tangerines.
Still, I fought back where I could.
One night, from a tree not 10 feet from the house, came a sudden otherworldly caterwauling. When mating, mountain lions sound rather as you expect they might. But this is a family column, and I couldn’t tolerate such a thing so close to the house. Lions, that is–not the mating. I grabbed a tennis racket and charged out to urge the happy couple on their way, fully prepared to crack either across the mazzard should our disagreement escalate. But they just stared at me–two pairs of retinas reflecting back in the beam of my flashlight. I had to turn a hose on them to cool their ardor, and when they leapt from the tree and alit on the ground I could gauge their weight from the vibration transmitted through the soles of my feet.
The Chief’s main concern was for my sanity in confronting them with sporting goods. My in-laws’ main concern was for the safety of the mountain lions. Never mind their five grandchildren.
Perhaps the worst fight was with the plethora of rattlesnakes brought out each year by the advent of warm weather. They could not be allowed to slither their way inside the house. Neither could they be tolerated outside anywhere near our kids. One such ophidian bit a kitten of ours right on the front porch–that is to say on its forepaw–and I thought, sadly, “Cloud is a goner.”
The best way to shoo them off was with a hoe–an implement whose employment I soon became adept at. Counter-intuitively, the idea was to provoke the snake, getting it to strike at the flat metal blade. The rattler would then recoil, and, as if you were using a push broom, the trick was to advance the hoe, again provoking the snake. After enough of this frustration, most took their headache and slunk off.
All of this was my way of “draining the swamp.”
Because–let’s face it–the Resistance begins at home.
There’s no denying we’re in a hell of a fix. As they’re wont to when they’ve achieved a majority, the Republicans are overreaching themselves to the point of putting party before country. And that, my friends, is treason.
Wouldn’t it be great if the electorate would vote the Great Republican Invasion out because it’s cross-pollinated our healthcare with a tax cut for the wealthy?
Wouldn’t it be great if, simply by taking up sporting goods, we could force a very badly needed special prosecutor out of the woods?
Wouldn’t it be great if, simply by taking up garden tools, we could repulse the ridiculous snake who sits in the Oval Office?
Sound crazy? What doesn’t these days?