Thursday, May 26, 2011
Lil' Ol' Palmetto Bug
When I was in the fourth grade we moved to Hawaii. The day we arrived my parents immediately looked for a house to rent. After looking all day long, they rented a house on the windward side of Oahu. I remember the house had a steep hip roof and a nice front porch. By that time it was late in the evening, so we quickly had something to eat. We carried in cots to sleep on and a change of clothes, and then it was time to turn in. We were all tired after a very long day. Gentle breezes lulled me to sleep and I'm certain I dreamt of playing on the beach and swimming in warm water.
In the middle of the night we all awoke to the most blood curdling screams we'd ever heard. I knew instantly it was my mother; I envisioned intruders of the most monstrous and villainous type. The screaming was intense and we all huddled in our beds thinking the worst was yet to come. The screaming continued and I could hear my dad trying to calm my mother to no avail.
My mother kept saying "Look at them, just look at them! They're every where; there are hundreds of them; we have to leave". My mother said she was not staying in that house another night. Finally my father agreed to stay up with her the rest of the night with the lights on and they'd get their money back in the morning. After a few more screams, we heard my father explaining to my mother the roaches must have come down from the attic after the lights had gone out. In the morning my mother prevailed and we got our money back and moved somewhere else.
Since moving to Florida I've noticed folks here have a way of making something really gross sound so genteel. For instance, calling a roach, a palmetto bug. I can just hear someone saying, "It's just a lil' ol' palmetto bug". In my mind a palmetto bug is a roach and the worst thing in the world. To this day I can't stand roaches and I scream at the sight of them. I've tried to conquer my fear but it's deep seated from that learned response so long ago.
This is the closest I've ever gotten to a cockroach. Thank goodness he's on the outside screen of our house, otherwise you'd hear my screams from where you are right now. I guess I'm better than I used to be because I actually took this photo. However, he's on the outside; if he was inside, it would be a different story. Perhaps if they are on the outside they are palmetto bugs and on the inside they are roaches.
From what I can surmise from diagrams, this is an oriental cockroach about 2 inches in length. He stayed on that window screen all day long tormenting me with his presence. Apparently a cockroach can squeeze through a crack the thickness of a dime; I hope he doesn't sneak in our house in the middle of the night. Up next something more pleasant; anything has to be more pleasant than a roach or a lil' ol' palmetto bug. (All photos except the last two were borrowed to enhance this story).