Only those who know me really well know my rootin’ tootin’ country side so most would be surprised to learn my parents raised me like a modern-day Jewish Annie Oakley. At the tender age of four, my dad taught me the skill of marksmanship. He used to take me out to abandoned rock quarries and we would shoot dynamite filled tennis balls. By age six, I was zipping around on my mini Y-Zinger motorcycle. By 21, I could drive stick, change my own tire, start a fire and bait a hook. That is the fun of growing up just a little bit Country. You learn how to get shit done!
My kids are now the perfect age to be inducted into the “Annie Oakley Club.” So every once in a while, us city slickers venture back into the wild, to be one with nature and discover all that middle Missouri has to offer.
A few months ago we decided to spend the weekend at my husband’s uncle’s lake house. A little ole house in the middle of no where Missouri. I call this place, and all places like it, “The Tick Farm.” It has everything one needs to enjoy a weekend of country living, including, but not limited to, thousands and thousands of ticks.
It was so nice to unplug and have some down right dirty country time fun. The kids were having the time of their lives riding motorcycles, catching frogs at the “crick”, fishing and riding on the back of the tractor. I was so proud watching my 9 and 7-year-old buzz around on their dirt bikes. Strong. Confident. Brave. I was enjoying the day as well, and was having a blast watching my children be one with nature….and then this happened…
We were wrapping up the night with a little small talk and moonshine (aka Budweiser) on the screened in porch (screened in I assumed to keep the bugs out) when at approximately 10:45 pm a giant, winged, exoskeleton packing insect flew like a bat out of hell right into my eye. I am certain it identified the lone city slicker in the bunch and yelled “bonsai” the whole way towards my cornea. Fucking kamikaze.
I ran into the bathroom where I desperately tried to get the bugger out. I found an emergency eye washing kit in the bathroom, an item I am certain is found only on tick farms, and proceeded to irrigate my eye trying to drowned out the tick tac with wings.
After an hour of unsuccessfully trying to remove the bug, my eye was swollen and I was exhausted. I would have googled an extraction method but of course there is no internet service on the tick farm. I decided to sleep it off. Maybe the bug would crawl out of my eye while I slept?
By 6:00 am it looked like I had gotten into a fight and my eye was throbbing. Certain that the bug was laying eggs inside my retina, I quickly dressed in my camo tank top and capri pants (what else does one wear in the country) and woke up my husband. He thought I was crazy and was not about to schlep me to the eye doctor which was God knows where.
Fortunately, we brought extra adult supervision, so I woke up my cousin (because that’s who you bring with you to the country), and informed him he had to take me to the hospital. Being city folk and all, we had no idea where the closest hospital was so we just got in the car and took off. Moments into our drive I realized that he too was wearing camo. We were the Camo Cousins. All we needed was a pick up truck.
We arrived in a small town called Mexico, MO. Fortunately there was an actual hospital there so into the emergency room we went. It went down like this…
The triage nurse asked me all the pertinent questions and when she got to the “Do you smoke?” question she automatically scrolled down and selected “yes” as the response on the computer screen. When I answered “NO” she looked at me, and apparently the three other heads I had grown, before changing my answer to no.
The doctor was quick to come in and I informed him that I had a bug in my eye and pointed to the exact spot above my eyeball under my eye lid where I was sure the rapscallion had migrated. He suggested, “I’ll bet the bug is out and you just FEEL like you have a bug in your eye.” Me: “Say what?!”
He did an initial assessment and proclaimed that there does not seem to be a bug in there after all. It’s probably just a scratch. Me: “I say Sir. But enough is ENOUGH! I have had it with this motherfuckin’ bug in my motherfuckin’ eye!”
Then he came up with THIS brilliant plan. He said…and I shit you not… “I am going to invert your eyelid. Did you ever do this when you were in high school? The kids around here do it all the time.” Me: “No I didn’t invert my eyelids! What the fuck are you talking about?”
Before I could explain that I spent my high school years drinking in the desert while listening to Ice Ice Baby like every other normal high schooler he had my eyelid twisted inside out and filleted open. Then I hear “Well I’ll be! There’s a bug in your eye! Here he is!” Me: “NO SHIT!”
He scraped it out with a large Q-Tip. One would think that the eyelid would automatically revert to its natural state after such an ordeal but apparently not. My eyelid stayed inverted for what felt like long enough to take a selfie and scare the shit out of all my high school friends. Mission accomplished.
The doctor then said that I would need to use antibiotic eye drops and that he would write me a prescription for pain meds. I inquired, “Don’t you think I can just take ibuprofen?” He looked at me, and the three heads I had grown earlier, and said “But I can write you a prescription for pain meds.” It was as if I was literally the first person in the history of this hospital to turn down pain meds.
After our hospital ordeal, we decided a big country breakfast was in order. So off to the local diner we went. This place was amazing. Exactly what we needed. It was filled with local folk and had the crispest bacon we had ever seen. My cousin and I ordered one of everything on the breakfast menu. The bill was $16.94. I love the country!
Before returning to the little cabin in the woods we needed to stop at Dollar General. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, better than going to a Dollar General in a small town.
We wandered the aisles uneventfully picking up trinkets for camp care packages I would later send to the kids. A nice old woman entered the store and the checker asked her how she was doing. She replied “I would complain but it wouldn’t do me a damn bit of good!” Fair enough.
We finished up and I began unloading our basket when a man walked in and approached our checker. He was upset because the item he bought yesterday was defective and needed to be returned. I turned to look at this person who was interrupting our check out process only to discover he was wearing a polo shirt and his underpants. And nothing else. I turned around to face my cousin and mouthed the situation to him. “Underpants? Underpants. Underpants!!!”
It was time to head back to the farm.
Despite the bug incident, we had the best time experiencing country life for the weekend. I am thrilled we have the opportunity to raise strong, confident, frog catching, motorcycle riding, camp fire building kids who aren’t afraid to get down and dirty on the tick farm. I hope they end up a little bit country. And I will never forget the look on my daughter’s face after i returned from the hospital, when I grabbed a helmet (with a full frontal face shield/bug guard) and hopped on the motorcycle and tore off into the sunset. I swear I heard her yell “that’s one bad ass mother fucker!” I love the country!