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Lovebugs truly test my patience

I had just dropped off my daughter at church and was headed back south on U.S. 61 North last Sunday when I saw them.

They flitted around in front of my windshield, kind of floating in the wind before landing on the glass in front of my face — two lovebugs in a state of marital (?) bliss.

For those of you who are not familiar with these little black winged creatures, lovebugs are a species of insect that does three things during its life — fly, mate and smear the windshield of your car.

I haven’t seen that many lovebugs around in the eight years I’ve lived in Vicksburg, and they were non-existent when I worked in North Alabama. Up in the land north of Birmingham, the people I worked with had never heard of the little buggers, forcing me to enlighten them.

I, however, am well acquainted with those flying nuisances.

Growing up in South Louisiana, I remember seeing lovebugs as a child. They captured my imagination. Here were these little black bugs joined at the rear flying around, reminding me of some comic character. It was only later that I came to hate them.

Mosquitoes and ants bite. Wasps and hornets sting, and if you think and are careful you can avoid such critters.

You can’t escape lovebugs. They get on your face, your clothes and in your hair. They strike your car and splatter across your windshield, the headlights, the grill and hood of your car and stick to surfaces like glue. And what’s left of the little animals bakes on your car in the hot southern summer sun, requiring hours of tedious work — in the hot summer sun — scraping the stuff off before you can wash the remainder off, and you still have marks remaining where you were hit.

My first exposure to what a lovebug can do to a car came in my early teens. My father worked for an oilfield supply company in the oil patch in Louisiana, southern Mississippi and eastern Texas, all prime lovebug country. He would come home from his travels with bug guts all over the front of his car, turning what was a light blue car almost white.

Years later, when I was working on the Coast, I was sent to cover a federal trial in Natchez and took a route that went through a portion of South Louisiana. Somewhere between Hammond, La., and Independence, La., I hit lovebug central. So many lovebugs hit my truck it sounded like rain. I ended up stopping twice at gas stations to scrape them off my windshield so I could see.

So when I saw those two bugs flitting together in my windshield I began having flashbacks about my previous encounters with lovebugs combined with my fear that they had made it north and a new season had begun.

I’ve always been told that God occasionally gives problems to test our patience. I wonder if the lovebug is one of those problems. Good choice, God.

John Surratt is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at john.surratt@vicksburgpost.com.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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