Dear Friend of Frank,
I was out walking this morning when a 17-year locust dropped down my back—where I couldn't reach it, natch.
Dive-bombed right into the collar of my T-shirt and quickly found a nice warm home.
I jumped around in a St. Vitus Dance that moved a fellow walker to ask whether I was OK. I was not.
I did the shimmy and the shake, the twist and the shout. Thought I'd worked it on out when I felt it wriggling again (climbing actually, that's what they do).
Thought about taking off my shirt. Then thought what if I were a woman and wanted to take off my shirt.
I was freaking out by the time I got home. I did take off my shirt then. Carol assured me I was bug-free but I itched as if the cursed thing were still there. Only her patented back-scratch was equal to the moment.
Yes, I live in the Land of the Locust*, though I could hardly tell it until this morning. Despite daily scare stories interspersed with tasty locust recipes, unusually cool weather has kept the locusts from behaving like … well … locusts.
*OK, not locusts but cicadas, as readers didn't hesitate to point out.
But now it's hot, typical late-May Washington-hot. I expect the song of the locust to be heard throughout the land soon.
It likely will be my last locust rodeo. I'm of an age when another 17-year wait isn't a sure thing.
The pandemic is passing. I'm seeing friends for lunch again—inside the restaurant, thank you, not freezing my buns under some weak outdoor heater. I'm in fine health. I've rejoined the gym and am working with a trainer to get back in shape. (He was impressed with my ability to hold a plank 30 seconds. When I said I could go lots longer, he responded, "How old did you say you were?") Our son gets married in July in Taos NM and we get to fly on an actual airplane. We'll be there 3½ weeks, celebrating. And I'm about to fulfill a dream, publication of my Chicago Trilogy.
You'd think at least I could look forward to more locusts.
Maybe this morning, that little guy was not a pest after all. Maybe he (She? It? They/them?) was sent to show me the upside to growing old. No more locusts down my back.
Yup, that's it. An angel from locust heaven. This would explain the downward trajectory.
Frank S. Joseph, Author, The "Chicago Trillogy"
P.S. The contract with TouchPoint Press has been signed. Next comes introductions, working with their editor, getting covers designed and other necessities of production, discussing publishing and marketing strategies. Stay tuned.
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