Over the holiday weekend we had a visit from a Grand Aunt. We also had an ant visit--- on a grand scale. The second night of my sister Jean's stay, an army of the small black creatures invaded. Without warning they slashed through the tiny crack of the front door threshold; the nasty robbers. Along the edge of the living room walls in black lines they tramped towards the kitchen, bold as brass. And they all go marching down to the ground to get out of the I am assuming ---night heat.
Daba had to get off the couch and load up the weapon. I could hear him pumping the bug killer machine preparing to launch a mean counter attack. "I hate the stuff. I worry it's gonna kill us," I complained. "What would you rather have the ants or the spray? " "The spray," I conceded. There were at least a million ants. They were relentless, crawling up my furniture and slithering into the slits of my rubber shoes. I couldn't step on 'em all. They bit me and it hurt. Definitely---the spray.
Our grand aunt Jean's visit was, on the other hand, a welcome blessing. She had planned the visit for some time and the craft activity she implemented was enormously fun. Each step of the way, she involved four year old Kenz in the process; sand, dust, design, watch me burn it, and paint. Aunt Jean did the spray varnish, outside, without any help.
The finished boxes hold some happy moments. Before those ants so rudely entered, 'wood burning' had brought our family together; a steady march through the late afternoon into an evening of shared solitude. Kenzie's Mom made some darling flowers on her box and then carefully painted a 'Reggae flag' on another one to give to her brother. Kenz made a teapot design for Nana, palm trees for Uncle Mi Mi and a Hello Kitty for his girlfirend Jody. Her daddy got a rainbow box because he likes the Grateful Dead. "Nana, I'm all sold out," Kenz told me the next day, after giving them all away,except the bright blue one Jean had helped her paint. "I'm keeping this one," she said, opening the lid and pointing to the little black ant that Jean had painted in the corner. "This one will remind me of Aunt Jean." Jean has always signed her letters with the little ant symbol and called herself ant Jean. When I open that box I'll remember both ant visits.