The land was probably not rampant with ticks in his time, like it is now.
Our family went out for a late afternoon stroll down a little used network of horse trails which meander the President’s former property. It only took five minutes.
“Tick!” yelled the nine-year-old at the front of the line. Several others gathered to see, and soon began slapping and dancing to the same tune, “tick! tick!”
By the time the end of the line caught up, everyone was bent double picking these pernicious Lyme-disease carriers from their clothes and shoes, and wondering why there were suddenly so many.
When the two-year-old began to cry and grab his ears I turned away from the melee to find he had a large tick in his ear!
“That’s it!” I yelled. “We’re done!”
All the way back to the car the boys employed their pocket knives on the tiny spidery beasts whose hard shells don’t yield to normal swatting or finger-squishing.
I strode along turning the problem over in my mind – we weren’t in tall grass, how were ticks in such quantity getting onto everyone? Especially their heads, ears, and necks?
I thought about a conversation I had last year with a young man from Alabama. What had he said about ticks in the Deep South?
The trees! He said the ticks made nests in the trees and then dropped onto people or animals when they felt the vibrations of their footsteps!
Too gross for words!
We hurried back to the van and did a cursory ‘tick check’ right there in the parking lot. The boys stabbed several more on the way home, and in the bathtub that evening as I used a fine-toothed comb to inspect every inch of the five-year-old girl’s head, I found three more, already imbedded.
I don’t think we’ll be hiking that trail again. You can see why our county has the highest incidence of Lyme Disease of any other in the entire country.