Lessons learned from lifetime of chigger battles

Published 10:45 am Tuesday, July 11, 2023

By Ricky Swindle
Muffler Shop Musings

Howdy, friends!

I have to admit that a couple times a year I use a little fingernail polish. I don’t care for the fire engine red or bubblegum pink, I tend to use the clear kind.

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Now before you think I’m about to start wearing dresses and using pronouns instead of my name, hear me out first.

Every summer it happens to me. You would think I would remember from year to year, but somehow I don’t.


Those hellish little red bugs that attach to my exposed legs when I put on my short pants and loafers then traipse around my yard ignorantly fearless of any creature until a day later when I get that old familiar itch.

Then out comes the clear fingernail polish and my wife daubing the wounds left by Satan’s little imps. Those little devils are horrendous.

Back in the day we didn’t have clear fingernail polish in our home because Momma was a devout holy roller Pentecostal lady did not believe in such worldly goods. She had other ways to deal with them.

Every year we would go blackberry picking and Momma would wear a pair of her sister’s dungarees under her skirt to help ward off the chiggers. 

She justified her Christian faith by wearing the skirt along with the britches, plus there was no one around to witness this but us and we knew better than to cross up Momma.

I never heard her complain about a chigger, but they would eat me alive. I’d be all amongst that blackberry bush just a picking those big juicy sweet prizes and keeping a lookout for snakes instead of being concerned with chiggers.

When we got home those things started attacking and we’d start whining. They would be all over us, back and front and up and down, then she’d hold us and take her fingernail and scratch those tiny red monsters off of us one at a time.

After she was satisfied with her scratching, she’d run us a tub of Clorox water and we cried as we sank down in it.

The next day we had battle scars, but we didn’t have chiggers.

I think if Momma would’ve known back then the fingernail polish remedy is so much easier, she might have borrowed a bottle from her sisters to salve on us. She was definitely not going to get caught buying it from Fred’s or The Lucky Dollar Store.

I have sweet blood or something. Those hateful things just jump on me unprovoked. My wife can wear her flip flops all over the yard and never get one. A short stroll by me seems to bring them out by the dozens to attack.

So there’s no blackberry, pea or bean picking or corn pulling unless I’m in jeans and boots and sometimes that doesn’t help.

Take care of yourself folks and when you see me and I have the aroma of a local fingernail painting shop, just know those dadgum chiggers done got me again.

Write to Ricky Swindle at rickyswindle@bellsouth.net