Watch out for sand in the sheets at the beach

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 14, 2007

During these hazy days of summer, there is a very familiar sound that I hear during the evenings in the city of Luverne that reminds me of when I was growing up in Greenville.

Actually, the sound is the same, but the smell, thank goodness, is very different.

It's the mosquito truck.

At least, that's what we called it.

When I was a kid, we always knew when the mosquito truck was in the neighborhood because we could hear its high-pitched whirring sound even though it was two or three streets away. However, I usually ran inside the house right before it passed by and peeped out the window to watch it like an escaped convict watching the police drive by. That smell was horrid, absolutely putrid and would curl any nose hairs within smelling distance. Even so, the &#8220mosquito truck” is still a fond memory.

Of course, back then, there's no telling what was actually being sprayed to kill the mosquitoes. Maybe that's the real reason behind my migraine headaches.

Plus, Samson, my 21-pound tomcat, is not too fond of being disturbed from his afternoon-to-evening naps when the mosquito trucks come by the house. After all, he needs his beauty sleep.

Also during this time of the year, I think about playing softball with the Greenville Parks and Recreation leagues, instead of practicing the piano as my grandmother would have liked. Or swimming at the &#8220big” pool at Beeland Park, which is now the Boys and Girls Club. Or heading down to Panama City Beach with my best friend Lynn Duncan Sessions and her parents, Mr. John and Mrs. Ruth Duncan.

You know how it is. You're 15 years old, you're trying to be cool in front of the guys even though you really don't know what being cool is. We didn't put on sunscreen; heck, we put on that Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil that is probably one of the main reasons for the fact that I'm in dire need of Botox injections today. We fried our skin like an egg in a skillet, but that was all part of it.

On this particular trip, Lynn and I, after I had already sustained a third-degree sunburn, decided to go swimming in the motel's pool. Okay. Your skin is burned, and you now have this nice red and white pattern between your bathing suit and your sunburn, and you decide to try and impress some stupid boys you don't even know. So in you go for what should have been a cool-looking dive.

But no.

I don't know if it was my face or my stomach that hit the water first, but that belly flop was about as painful as any surgery I ever had as an adult. Plus, it really hurt my ego, too.

To top it all off, we stayed in one of those motels with the light blue paint that was peeling everywhere you looked and where half the lights on the marquee sign were out so that it only spelled part of the motel's name.

And there was sand in the sheets.

Neither Lynn nor I could sleep because she had hurt her back swimming and I was burned like a barbecue pork rind, but being in that bed with sand in the sheets (and it wasn't even OUR sand), you might as well have raked my back with a set of long fingernails. It would have felt the same.

Of course, going to the beach was not complete without a visit to some theme park. I still have a Polaroid picture of me and some cowboy on a homemade &#8220Wanted” poster that cost about $5 to have taken. At the time, we thought he was so cute.

When I look at it now, I just sigh. He wasn't all that cute. He was probably a high school dropout trying to make his rent.

On the drive home, with me and Lynn in the backseat, we would ask Mr. John to tune the radio to the back speakers so we could hear it while we looked out the back car window at the stars and talked. Seat belts? Nope. Didn't have any. You just had to learn to stick that arm out and catch yourself on the back of the front seat fast enough.

Who needed a cell phone, or an ipod, a DVD player or a blackberry?

We amused ourselves.

And, boy, did we have a great time.

Uh, Samson, would you please stop modeling that thong bikini?

Regina Grayson is managing editor of The Luverne Journal. She can be reached at 335-3541 or by email: