Warning: Column rated PG 13

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 3, 2004

I’d like to think I keep this column as family friendly as possible. In a &uot;R&uot; rated world, I aim for &uot;G,&uot; or maybe an occasional &uot;PG.&uot;

This week will be an exception, however. So, if you have young ones around, you may want to ask them not to read this column, as I hear from my nephews I’m popular with the under 5 set.

Now that we’re away from young ears, here we go: we’ve got to do something about these Japanese Beetles.

Let me explain.

There is a large tree near the front of my house. A herd of Japanese Beetles has decided to call this tree their home. I was OK with this, as from everything I’ve read there’s not a whole lot you can do about them anyway.

Three weeks ago, I noticed the black beetle blobs seemed thicker on the plants than before. I looked closer and, to my shock and horror, I realized it was because the beetles were all paired up. A beetle love-in was taking place in my front yard.

I called Greg and explained to him the delicate situation.

&uot;My mother is coming to the house this weekend. I can’t have her walk by a tree full of procreating beetles. You’ve got to do something.&uot;

&uot;What would you like me to do? Get them a room at the Holiday Inn? Douse them with cold water from the hose?&uot;

Cold water. There’s an idea.

I went outside and pulled out the hose. Turning it on full blast, I soaked the tree and the amorous beetles. The rush of water cleared the branches, at least for a little while.

In about an hour, the beetles returned and, obviously refreshed by the water, got back in the swing of things. I could almost picture little Japanese Beetles smoking cigarettes and listening to Marvin Gaye music.

Things were getting desperate. I had to find a way to get the beetle Casanovas away from my tree before my mother and my young nephews came over to the house. I could just hear young Isaac asking me what exactly those bugs were doing and me fumbling around for the answers.

I went outside and shook the tree as hard as I could. A horifying shower of bugs fell down around my shoulder.

&uot;Hate to break up the party,&uot; I said, &uot;But I’m not running a brothel around here.&uot;

The beetles scurried off, only to return, of course. It was time to face the obvious – love was a powerful emotion and apparently, the Japanese Beetle is willing to die for it.

I conceded the tree in all its pornographic glory to the Japanese Beetles. Apparently, this meant a lot more to them than it did to me.

My mother and my nephews came over the next weekend and I escorted them past the tree quickly, trying to point out the new flowers by the mailbox as a distraction. Just as I passed the tree, I turned around and hissed &uot;get a room.&uot;

They didn’t listen. They were too busy with other things.

Leada DeVaney is the publisher of the Hartselle Enquirer and the Madison County Record. She is the former managing editor of the Shelby County Reporter