"Fooling me because of early January, mosquitos set a trap" by: Mike Reddell

   I was out of the house on my daily walk around our six acres before I realized my mistake.
   I truly was at the farthest point of our property from the house when I felt the first mosquito bite or puncture, as the case may be.
   During the summer I usually have cans of mosquito spray at the ready.
   But it was a beautiful, pleasant day in the high 60s - just perfect for the insect to make its appearance.
   Earlier that day, I had a friend describe the snow fall in Kerrville, which was on the eastern edge of the massive system that recently covered West Texas.
   They got snow and we got loads of rain out of the same system.
   Our front yard still has pools of water from last week and there’s low points where the water is right below the surface.
   When I stepped on a rain-sodden ground that sent my shoes halfway into the earth that caught me by surprise, I felt the familiar stab.
   Wearing shorts, I looked down to see hordes of mosquitos had set up on both legs.
   OK, it was more like 10 of the miniature monsters sucking the blood from my unprotected legs.
   A long-sleeved T-shirt protected my upper body.
   What gets me is the fact the mosquitos seemed to blow off warm days after a rain a few months back, when I had the Off cans ready for deployment.
   But the first few days of January and they’re out in force.
   I realize after nearly 24 years here, snow storms on the Texas Gulf Coast are beyond rare occurrences.
   Yes, yes, I was here for the 2004 Christmas Day snowstorm that dumped a foot of snow or so on the entire Gulf Coast extending about 30 miles inland.
   From a satellite image, we were all delighted with the Texas coast’s a milk mustache.
   Kerrville gets a little more snow than Bay City and the desert communities like Odessa, and in New Mexico, where I’ve lived before do get snow a few times a year.
   That was nice, except the sand storms out west in other times of the year make it hard to see the hand in front of your face.
   But every place I’ve lived also has mosquitos.
   Years ago, my family and I were run out of Inks Lake State Park because of a mid-summer mosquito invasion.
   In Brownsville, where I lived in the late 1970s, it’s much worse because of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever.
   There were dengue outbreaks down there in 2005 and 2013 and the Aedes aegypti mosquito - the primary carrier of Zika - is a known risk in Brownsville.
   Now that I know the swarms are here - at least in our yard - I’ll be better prepared tomorrow.
   The moral of this story is this: no matter how bad I complain about mosquitos, I know there’s always someplace worse.       

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