A Wilson Times Co. publication · Serving Southern Nash County Since 1947

Fighting the bugs in ‘Gnat County’

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You know, I’m not sure just where the line is drawn in the southern end of Nash County that stops gnats from progressing further northwest or if there is a sign hidden someplace that says “This Far and No Further,” but I am very grateful.

Growing up on that sandy farm near Floods Chapel, we fought gnats constantly. Unless there was a breeze blowing, you had better have that old church fan in hand as you sat on the front porch or have a straw hat or handkerchief handy as you worked in the fields. They were an ever-present nuisance until the first frost. Of course, there was no air conditioning and when school began every fall (and in the spring), all the windows were open and there they were — the Nash County pestilence.

If we were lucky, we had a thoughtful teacher who would bring the liquid repellant which we could then put on those rough brown paper towels and keep handy to wipe on our face. I guess that’s why we’re affectionately (?) known as Gnat County.

I’m not sure if Sonny Brantley remembers this or not, but in his other lifetime, he worked in Mr. Roberson’s general store in Stanhope before he became Mr. Farm Bureau. As eighth graders, two of us could walk to the store to purchase said repellant on especially troubling days. Can you imagine a teacher sending students out today to walk to a store for anything?

Some of us were even sent on a “running cedar hunt” in December through the woods near the old Stanhope Elementary School that goes to what is now Southern Nash Middle School. The cedar was used to decorate the school’s auditorium for the Christmas program. Mercy me, how times have changed! But then, that’s conversation for another column.

I saw the first load of harvested tobacco this week as I journeyed to Greenville. This was the first time I had ever seen a modified school bus being used on a major four-lane highway towing a truly huge trailer full of primed tobacco. I actually saw three of them on the road that day. To my farmer friends out there, I applaud you and support you in every way, but please tell those drivers to keep their flashers on when they are on the major highways. Two of the three didn’t have theirs on and I was on that low brown trailer before I knew it as I was driving 70 mph and they were going around 45 mph.

I said a quick prayer of thanks that I was not working in the field or at the scaffold on that hot day (or any day, for that matter).

Jan Mills is The Enterprise’s customer service representative. Reach her at 252-478-3651 and jmills.enterprise@wilsontimes.com.