Ranting and Raving

Night Sounds

Night Sounds

Halloween, autumns pinnacle. Daylight grows shorter each passing day, nocturnal types revel in the night darkness as a shroud of inky black engulfs. A shroud broken only by city and vehicle lights, glimpses of shooting stars, the sky twinkling with stars and the profound wonderment of dancing colors of the Aurora. Ah yes, the aurora. In younger, far more crazy days I may have allowed myself to be carried away by hallucinogens while taking in the show. That was another incarnation all but erased by age and health stuff.  Yep, the adage “had I known I would live this long I’d have taken better care of myself rings true””, just not so amusing as once.

The autumn eve wears on seducing eyelids to grow heavy and drift into a magic carpet ride of sleep. Suddenly I’m pulled from sleep as night is pierced by repeated wailing of a critter about to become chow to an unknown predator. There are perhaps a half dozen pained wailing protestations before the victim falls silent. The act is done, the aggressor victorious and satiated.

It is the cycle of life, the fabled law of the jungle. I snuggle into the covers absorbing warmth and comfort while my bed lulls me to oblivion once more. It’s a normal night with two to five hours in bed before aches and pains from past insults to the body roust me and takes me to the living room recliner in hopes of a couple more hours. Sometimes it happens and other times are like tonight with thoughts running rampant. A big thumbs down to more sleep.

An air horn announces an approaching train in concert with the shuddering cacophony of steel rails guiding steel wheels.

A fire truck, ambulance and police squad all take their turns filling the night sounds with screaming sirens.

A verse of an “Eagles” tune begins echoing in my thoughts:

Lying here in the darkness

I hear the sirens wail

Somebody going to emergency

Somebody’s going to jail

If you find somebody to love in this world

You better hang on tooth and nail

The wolf is always at the door”


Excerpted from “New York Minute,” written by Don Henley and recorded by “Eagles.”


Thoughts beckon back to those last pained wails of that poor critter and I shudder anticipating the wolf at my door.

Ranting and Raving



It was summer, sleeveless shirts and shorts were the air conditioning of the farm yard. It was near the front of the barn and dad and mom were preparing to fire up the feed mill and grind grains into cattle feed. Dad was aligning a tractor to the mill so a flat belt could drive it.

Then it happened: mom spied a wood tick on my shin and the battle was on. Dad turned off the tractor and joined the harassment.

Oh my God, find one tick and we gotta check to make sure there aren’t more. “Take your clothes off.”



We’re outside and the County road is so close and if anyone drove past they’d see me all naked and things. And I’ve been told God sees all and I don’t want him to see me defrocked and outside.

With some parental persuasion (mostly dad and mom were bigger, stronger and meaner) I finally relented to close up examination of every square inch.

Was I traumatized? Nope. I was afraid God wouldn’t be pleased or someone driving by would get an eyefull. The heavens didn’t open nor was there an ominous booming voice from above telling me what a bad boy I’d been. Even better no one drove past and stared at the naked kid by the barn. As for dad and mom, well gosh, there was nothing new to see including more wood ticks.

Decades later, dad and mom had passed on and I was at a cardiologist appointment. All was well according to him and I was asked if I had any questions. I pulled my shirt up over my tummy and asked what he thought the bullseye pattern might be. Within minutes I had a dermatologist appointment for that afternoon. There was no diagnosis but a weeks long prescription of antibiotics consistent with lyme disease treatment resulted. The bullseye patch disappeared, other symptoms didn’t develop and all was well. In my naive unprofessional opinion I’m pretty sure it was caught in time or I would have been very ill with lyme disease.

Add a few more years to the mix and no other tick encounters have happened. But here’s the deal: if I found a tick crawling on me I would have no one (the beloved lady of my life died over a year ago) who could I ask to inspect areas I can’t see?

Sure, a Dr appointment would work but at least several weeks later and quite the expense. An urgent care clinic possibly but once again at quite the expense. I could ask a couple ladies but to the best of my knowledge there’s no chemistry so I would hesitate asking for fear of a face slap and accusation of perversion. I would ask no male friends ‘cuz I’m a devout heterosexual and the face slaps way be more painful. OK, understand the dilemma?

So I wonder if in wood tick prone regions if there’s room for professional wood tick inspectors? Who would take up that profession and how trusting would you be?