Numerous bug bites accumulated while on vacation left columnist Danny Henley's legs even uglier than usual.
You would have to ask my wife, Nancy, what factors influenced her decision to marry me almost 37 years ago. However, there are some definite reasons why I know she didn’t pick me:
• It wasn’t because of my financial portfolio.
• It wasn’t because I’m good looking. (I like to tell people that on the day God created me he asked, “Would you rather be rich or good looking?” And as I stood there pondering my options the creator of the universe said, “Next.”)
• It wasn’t because of my legs.
My fuzzy legs are not much to look at. I have not devoted years of weight training to developing my thighs and calves to resemble something you might envision seeing on a statue of a Greek god. Plus, a bicycle accident as a kid left my right knee with a pretty impressive scar.
As run-of-the-mill as my legs appear on most days, right now they look even worse, thanks to recent encounters with swarms of mosquitoes during a vacation trip Carolina earlier this month to South.
For the record, the state insect of the “Palmetto State” is the Carolina mantis. But considering the frequency of my encounters with the winged blood-suckers, I had to go online to verify that fact.
On our first evening in the Charleston area we decided to drive to a popular tourist destination called Folly Beach. As we approached the site, which features the Morris Island lighthouse just off shore, I couldn’t help but notice that the sun was sinking low in the western sky. As fate would have it, we happened to pass a small marina which featured a handful of sail boats at anchor. What a wonderful photo opportunity!
Quicker than you can say, “Don’t forget the bug repellant,” I had the car parked, lenses attached to both my cameras and was hoofing it to the waterfront. I’d barely snapped a couple of pictures before I felt the unmistakable prick of a mosquito bite. I snapped a few more shots before being driven back to the car.
I would amass more bites a couple of evenings later while out attempting to photograph lightning with my son, Jacob. And because you don’t dare remove a hand from your camera while taking a time-lapse photo at night, all I could do was stand still and allow my winged tormentors to gorge themselves until it was time to close the shutter, at which time it was safe to swat away.
I also learned that mosquitoes are on duty, regardless of how late it is. Awakened by the sound of thunder around 3:30 a.m., I charged out into the dark and stormy night. I wound up setting up my tripod and camera not far away, but as the lightning became less frequent, the frequency of mosquito bites increased.
On my last full day in Charleston, I got up early in the hope of shooting the sun coming up over the beautiful Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. However, because I wasn’t early enough I decided to take some photos near the bridge before walking out onto the structure.
At one point I spied two church steeples that appeared almost side by side from my vantage point. Throw in a large, puffy, white cloud, and I had the makings of a nice photo.
To take the photo I could have easily walked into a parking lot, but because the U.S. Postal Service had signs warning unauthorized personnel about venturing in, I decided to take the shot through a fence. Because I needed to slip my lens through the bars of the fence, I stepped from the sidewalk onto an area covered with mulch.
I’d snapped only two photos before I felt something on my legs. Glancing down I saw something black on my legs from about mid-shin on down.
“Mosquitoes again?!” I growled initially, until I took a closer look. Instead of mosquitoes, I found the lower part of my person rapidly being covered by a horde of displeased ants.
Did I mention that ants bite, too?