“Fear is a tyrant and a despot, more terrible than the rack, more potent than the snake.”

Today is perfect. The humidity is gone, and it is only 71˚. The window behind me, Nala’s favorite, had to be closed. It felt cold on my back. It seems strange to say that, cold on my back, after all the hot days we’ve had. It rained last night for ten minutes or so. It was quiet, no thunder, no lightning, just a little rain.

Yesterday I went to the dump. I hadn’t intent to go, but I was driving nearby and decided why not. It did feel good to have an empty trunk at least for the meantime.

Nala and I sleep behind a barricade meant to keep Nala inside the room. Henry doesn’t join us until later, after the lights are out. I let him inside when Nala wakes me up with her crying because Henry is in the hall also crying. This morning both of them had breached the barrier. I could hear them barking from the hall at some perceived trespass. I figured I’d best get downstairs and check the dining room for Nala’s mark. The room was dry. Maybe I can get rid of the barricade.

When I was growing up, I wasn’t much afraid of anything. Bugs and snakes were no never mind, and I couldn’t fathom why some girl were silly screamers when they saw bugs or snakes. Why scream? I couldn’t guess. Had they been bitten by a snake? Hardly. The only ones I ever saw were garter snakes, innocent garter snakes who hung around the grass and flowers. As for spiders, other then The Fly of movie fame, I knew we were safe from being caught in their beautifully woven webs. I did ask why the screams. Fear was always the answer.

When I got older, I understood being afraid of things we could see like bugs and snakes. I am part of the duck and cover generation. I was learning to protect myself from the big B Bomb by making myself as small a target as I could under my desk. I really wished for a spider’s web I could marvel at or a garter snake slithering across my hands and arms, things I could touch and see, not some threat from the sky I really didn’t understand, a threat which made me afraid, made me crouch under my desk.

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10 Comments on ““Fear is a tyrant and a despot, more terrible than the rack, more potent than the snake.””

  1. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I didn’t scream at insects, frogs, or snakes. I do yelp and jump at snakes, though, because they always ALWAYS appear just where I’m about to put some part of me like a foot or a hand or my face. I have come across some poisonous snakes and once was very startled by a 6 foot black racer coming out from under my porch. It shot off across the grass and up the huge black walnut tree.

    I’m part of the duck and cover generation, too. We learned about fallout shelters and where they were in town. We were told not to look at the flash and to get under something. I ate a banana which had been tested with a geiger counter after having its skin contaminated with Strontium 90. The skin set off lots of crackles but the banana did not. If we had not been minor children the demonstration would have been done with U235. I was disappointed. But we never had to crouch under our desks. Nowadays, that’s part of active shooter drills. I wasn’t afraid of the bomb because it wasn’t a threat that I could conceive of happening to me. Active shooter drills would have been a more tangible fear.

    It’s gorgeous up here today. No rain. Sun. Cool breeze. They can only promise us one day of this.

    I hope you did your clown car flourish at the dump.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I haven’t seen poisonous snakes here but I did see them in Africa. One ate several of my baby chicks. Once I saw a boa which had just eaten a chicken. The chicken was a lump at first. That was really gross. The poor chicken.

      They taught us to duck under our desks and to lean against the hall wall if we were out of the classrooms. I remember Sputnik causing so may fears, but the conspiracy enthusiasts were milder then so the fears were cloudy, nebulous, a bunch of what ifs. Rockets being shot at us was one. We never heard about where fallout shelters were or saw a Geiger counter. The nuns filled us in on what they figured we needed to know.

      The same weather down here, and it was breezy. I went out again for the third day in a row! Now I’m tired!

      Enjoy the evening!

  2. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Today is partly cloudy with below normal temperatures. The high is only 93°. Over the weekend the real summer begins with predicted high temperatures in the upper 90s and low 100s. There’s no rain forcasted for the next ten days. I will have to reactivate the sprinkler system.

    While in elementary school we also did the duck and cover thing and I knew about the location of fallout shelters. During the Cuban Missile Crisis was the only time I was really scared that a nuclear conflagration might occur. I’ve always been scared of snakes and bugs, especially poisonous ones. Locally we have a combination of rattlesnakes, coral snakes, water moccasins and black widow spiders. I don’t want to hang around long enough to figure out the safe ones from the verminous ones. 🙂

    One of my favorite movies from that era is Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove”. The U.S. Air Force gave the film makers unusual access to the operations of B-52 bombers without realizing it was going to be an anti-war movie. I love the scene where the B-52 commander, played by Slim Pickens, reads the contents of their survival kits should they be shot down behind enemy lines. 🙂


    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      Today was the ideal summer today here. It was sunny in the 70’s with a wonderful breeze. The humidity has disappeared for now. I was out for a while today and was glad I was out.

      I didn’t know of any fallout shelters when I was in elementary school. They were built a bit later. The town hall and one of the schools was a designated fallout shelter. Where I wore for a long time, there was a closet across from one office. In the back of it were sup[plies for the shelter below, things like cots, blankets and tubs for water. They had been there since the late 50’s or early 60’s. I suspect they’re gone now as all that area was renovated.

      I love Dr. Strangelove. One of my favorite scenes is when Slim Pickens rides the falling H-bomb like a bucking bronco. That is such a great clip.

      • Bob Says:

        That one is also on YouTube. The other great line is when Kenon Winn, needs change to call Washington with the bomber recall code. He blows the lock off of a Coca Cola machine for change for the pay phone and says, “You’ll have to answer to Coca Cola for this”.

      • katry Says:

        That movie is filled with such wonderfully funny scenes.

  3. Hedley Says:

    Springtime in New York ? Huh what is he talking about.

    Well “normally” Bob does not announce a bootleg series issue until the end of September but he just changed all that with announcement that on September 17 he will issue a new 5 cd Boxset looking at the early 80s and specifically the Shot of Love, Infidels and Empire Burlesque period. As usual it’s all unreleased recordings around the 3 albums and a very natural follow up to the Born Again Music

    Of course I am WAY over stimulated and here is the first release with lyrics and everything…now where is my Christmas Album

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      This song is beyond amazing. It is such a great song that it is no wonder you are already salivating for it. Put your Christmas list where those that need to see it will see it. I’d send one to Father Christmas just to hedge my bets.

  4. Christer. Says:

    A nice and cool day over here, the dogs are sleeping by my side here by the computer. Alma is quiet, Albin growls and Nova is wagging her tail 🙂

    I couldn’t find any puddle this morning either. Alma does it every now and again but then again she’s just 3,5 months old yet. My neighbors says she grows a lot though but I can’t see it since I see her all the time 🙂

    Have a great day!


    • katry Says:

      Hi Christer,
      Henry went upstairs to take a nap. He enjoys being on my bed. My dog Maggie was the only other dog who napped upstairs. I find it amazing that Henry does as he follows me everywhere. If I get up, he gets up. Sometimes it drives me crazy. Nala is sleeping beside me on the couch.

      I don’t understand why Nala pees on the floor. She goes out late so when I sleep late, the time isn’t so great that she can’t hold it. I lock her in my room hoping to stop her peeing. Kelly, her former person, told me that never happened, that she peed on their floor.

      Enjoy your weekend!

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