Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Life Cycle

When I’m 62—and the Beetles. . . .

Yesterday my husband and I registered for Social Security, and the Japanese beetle invasion began. The two events are not necessarily connected. They just happened to—well, happen—on the same day.

A few weeks ago, the Social Security folks sent John and me official-looking statements that told us how much we’d poured into SS and how much was likely to drip out, depending on when we retired. We were already sure that we would take the money at the earliest opportunity, which would be this September. (I really wanted to use the cliché take the money and run, but at our age running is pretty much out of the question.) They said to sign up about three months before our age of eligibility. That would be now. Actually, I could have done it 10 days earlier because I am that much older than John, but—in the interests of togetherness—I waited for him.

John learned that applying on-line is a lot less stressful than driving around the SS building in Roanoke and looking for a parking place, so after he’d hit send and zapped his application to the government, he convinced me that I should too. Mine took a little longer because I worked last year and thus had to answer more questions, but it still beat standing in line.

So, getting that first check this fall will be a milestone: the first official step in growing old. No, wait! The first step was getting the senior citizen discount at Krogers when we hit 55. Second step, then.

About two hours after hitting send, I looked out the window and saw a lot of activity on the Virginia creeper that covers much of the deck railing. I decided to investigate.

Close inspection revealed that dozens of Japanese beetles had not only landed but were actively involved in, uh, hooking up with each other. I figured this was a Kodak moment. (OK, I don’t have a Kodak. But an Olympus moment didn’t sound right. I seem to be having major cliché trouble today.)

WARNING: Graphic bug shots to follow!

A few years ago, I discovered that Japanese Beetles like Virginia creeper more than they like my other plants. Aha! Let ’em eat creeper! So, they now gnaw the creeper down to nothing and leave my other plants alone.

The beetles, of course, are only doing what their life cycle dictates: live underground as grubs, emerge, eat, mate, reproduce, die. Not unlike the human life cycle.

However, they don’t have to file for Social Security.

And they don’t get that senior citizen discount at Krogers.



Blogger House on the Glade Hill said...

Becky I just saw two beetles "doing it" in my pumpkin patch yesterday. They are not a big nuisance in my yard, so I let them be. I think I even blushed a little...
I loved the comparison between the beetle life cycle and ours. So different, yet still happening. Thanks for the chuckle and a view of your end of the road.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Marion said...

Yes, the JBeetles have indeed arrived. They dine on my weeping cherry tree, then head for my rose bushes for dessert.

I copied your family recipe for Spoonbread, since it uses corn meal instead of flour. Greased baking dish? Like for cornbread or for a loaf of bread?

I no longer have a woodstove, but that's the ultimate bread baker!

11:13 AM  

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