Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Acronicta Americana (and Inebrius Serveratica)

Or, the American Dagger Moth, or, uh... Tyko.  He, her, it - we didn't go into the sexuality of moths - came into our lives today as we were sitting outside under the maples drinking a Gatorade after an hour or so kicking a soccer ball.  Nick was sitting down and suddenly shouted out, "What the hoo-ha is that?"

Yes, what the "hoo-ha"...

We found a jar, gave him some leaves and a stick and took her, him, bother... it inside. We identified it, found some information, drew a picture of it and agreed we should let it go after Mom saw it before they went to bed.

"I think our waiter might be drunk," the woman at sixty-five said to Jeff, the seasoned manager at the restaurant I was working at so many years ago.

"Is your server Kelly? Yes, he might be," Jeff offered back and walked away.

Kelly was crazy, may still be, probably is. Anyway, on a different night we were stationed next to each other and Jeff came up to me and said a table complained that I wasn't "entertaining" enough. He'd spoken with the table, determining that I had indeed managed to get their order, bring their food and clear it away in a reasonable and polite manner. "Well, that other waiter is just so much fun and so clever and talkative."

"It's not fair to put me up against Kelly, he's drunk," I told him, Jeff agreed and went to get a Jack and Coke.

(Yes, your waiter has sometimes occasionally usually well, been drinking. It's true.)

Later that same year, at a party on Jimmy's farm, Kelly had been drinking and decided to put a caterpillar in his mouth, a yellow caterpillar, with black spikes. The why is lost to me, I am not sure anyone ever knew, really, but, he did it. He didn't eat it or chew it up, that would have been stupid, but, he did place it in his mouth and the spikes hit his lips as he did. I recall someone mentioning that the spikes of some caterpillars were toxic or poisonous. About an hour later, Kelly came up to me and said, "Do mwy wips wook swoowened."

"No, but your lips are all swollen," I told him. He thought it was funny.  I can't imagine at the time that I'd ever thought his swollen lips could possibly be included in a story about the twin boys I'd never imagined having.

Well, when we looked up the information today about Tyko it said, "Caution should be taken in handling the caterpillar, as the hollow setae may break off in to human skin, releasing a toxin which can produce a rash." Thanks wiki.

It is funny where stories meet, a drunken fat-lipped waiter and a couple of boys learning about a caterpillar they found in the back yard. I tell stories about Kelly all the time, he was quite a character, but I never imagined that his story would find a way to intersect with the story my boys are narrating as they go through life.

I took some pictures and the boys drew some as well:

I know, Audubon quality stuff, right?

In that last one you can see the maple tree from whence poor Tyko fell.

If I have a point today it is that we never know how things are going to line up.  I raise boys, it is my job.  I used to wait tables.  I've met hundreds of waiters and managers and chefs and managers and, well, forgotten most of them.  Not Kelly.  And today, I don't want to forget Tyko and I don't want the boys to forget him/her/it either.

For the record, we spent a lot of time deciding on a name for the little thing.  I advocated hard for Kelly.

From Marci's  ... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ...

"I've always loved water ... every since I was baptized."

Yes, ever since...

Thanks for looking in the jar with me, and remembering with me, and wondering how on earth so such different stories can meet at the edge of childhood.


  1. Life is funny like that. It all balls up in your hand and different events touch each other as memories and emotions spill into each other. And sometimes, all it takes is a caterpillar.