Monday, June 20, 2011

If It Ain't Bea, Who Is It?

Do you ever think about the word aunt? Do you pronounce it “ant,” “ont,” or maybe “ain’t,” the way Andy and Opie addressed Miss Beatrice Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show?

I prefer “ant,” which is why my mind skipped naturally to Aunt Bea while I was chasing the other kind with a can of bug spray this morning. Before I’d even had my coffee, I spotted the insidious little things crawling along the molding under my kitchen cabinets. I don’t mean the molding on the floor; they had already climbed to the upper level!
What IS it with ants? I once made a boat from a cantaloupe rind when I was a kid, so I could sail it in the bathtub. I thought I was pretty clever. I set my boat on the rim of the tub, and when I returned a few hours later, it was covered with ants! Our bathroom was on the second story. How did they do it, and why?
Someday I’m going to study ants--not in person, but in books, or maybe on the Internet. I’m going to find out what drives ants, what caused them to sniff out my little boat and make the long journey upstairs in our house, to swarm the pathetic remains of a cantaloupe; but not today. Today, I’m going to the store because I threw out virtually every container of food in my kitchen cupboards.
You may be asking about now: What does this have to do with writing? Well, if it hadn’t been for the irresistible pull of the book I'm working on with my brother, now about halfway into first draft, I might have paid more attention to what was going on in my kitchen. I’ve been lax in the cleaning arena for a while now, preferring to sit at the computer and write.
Some writers freeze when faced with a blank page, but I don’t. I’m not bragging; it’s just a fact. Words and phrases flow through my mind all day, every day. I love the process of writing and shaping those words. I never need prompts, and if this blog isn’t evidence, I don’t know what is.
So, to wrap up the ant story, if I hadn’t been so interested in writing for the past several weeks, I might not be in this pickle. Oops, don’t say “pickle” out loud; it’s sure to draw more of those persistent little fiends that are still hoping for a morsel of food in my empty cabinets.
And that brings us back to Aunt Bea. Remember the Emmy-winning pickle episode? I could use a few of those kerosene cucumbers about now. They’re probably better than ant cups.

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