Screen Saver

By Diane DeVaughn Stokes

I love nature – but nature does not always love me! I am one of those women who like to camp out, but hubby Chuck prefers a hotel room.

As a kid, my parents had one of those little Scotty Campers. We would come to Myrtle Beach from Florence packed to the hilt for the weekend, and even though our work had just begun as we pulled into the campsite with all the set up, unloading and organizing, one smell of that ocean air and we would instantly turn into different people. It was as if our whole bodies were saying “Ahhhh!”

Breakfast outdoors was always a delight as Dad took to the helm frying up the Taylor Ham Pork Roll and over-light eggs. Sometimes he would fry up those small potatoes that you can buy in the can. Once you drain them and fry them in butter, you have a culinary winner. A southern father would have cooked grits, but Dad, born in New Jersey, was a tater man through and through.

Lunch was easy with everyone preparing his or her own sandwiches, but dinner had everyone else in the campground salivating as Dad cooked his famous tomato sauce for hours on top of the green Coleman stove. You see, while the family was at the beach jumping the waves, Dad engulfed himself in his favorite activity – cooking for us! Once we showered and cleaned up our act, he boiled up the pasta and toasted the garlic bread for the most delicious Italian meal that was the envy of all the hot dog and hamburger connoisseurs adjoining our campsite.

But as much as I loved camping, I was always the only family member to come home with big red welts all over my body, usually mosquito bites, but none of the rest of the family had a single nibble. After dark, while everyone was hanging over the campfire roasting marshmallows and making smores, I was usually hiding from the flying critters inside the Scotty. Boring!

Fast forward to more contemporary times, my husband and I like to sit on the back deck in the evenings enjoying the outdoor beauty of our yard overlooking the lake, and he never gets bothered by flying pests. Meanwhile I sit swatting and swishing gloriously, smelling like citronella. I can’t figure it out. Skeeters just love me.

And perhaps you heard about the time I got bed bugs from sleeping in a hotel in Litchfield, yet Chuck who was lying right beside me, never got bitten! How does that happen?

Then there was the time I was doing an interview for my TV show, “Inside Out,” and I was sitting on a haystack only to return home with bites all over my you know what!

And yes, I had underwear on and long pants, but the red bugs still found what they were looking for! When I called the man I interviewed and asked him if he had any after effects from the haystack, he said, “No Ma’am. I’m immune to stuff like that.”

I could go on and on with more stories like these about critter bites, but I am also allergic to poison ivy and poison oak. My dermatologist suggested, because I am so highly allergic, when Chuck comes in from working in the yard, he should not put his dirty clothes in the hamper where I might come in contact with them. And so, the new ritual is for him to place soiled items in the washing machine. This allergy has also kept me from working in the yard, which used to be a passion of mine.

So what’s a girl to do who loves nature and the outdoors but neither loves me? Sometimes I think about designing a suit to wear that covers me from head to toe made from mesh so that I can still breathe and enjoy the sights. Hey, maybe that’s not such a bad idea. There must be others who could use one. I think I’ll call Shark Tank and get on their list while I develop the one size fits all, personal, unisex “Screen Saver.”

About this writer

  • Diane DeVaughn Stokes

    Diane DeVaughn Stokes

    Diane DeVaughn Stokes is the President of Stages Video Productions, Host and Producer for TV show “Inside Out” on HTC, and EASY Radio Host weekdays noon to 3pm. Her passions include food, travel and theater. You can reach her at diane@stagesvideo.com

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2 Responses to “Screen Saver”

  1. Anna Riley says:

    Sorry about all your allergies. But love the camping stories with your Dad cooking a home cooked Italian meal at the campsite. So awesome! Wonder if he sometimes called the sauce “gravy”?! My mother did. (Italian/ East coast thing!) …. And I’ll look out for ‘shark tank’ shows for your suit! :))

  2. Linda O'Connell says:

    My goodness I can relate to this. Even the tiniest bite results in a huge lump on me. We must have the desired blood these critters prefer.

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