of Big Santa Anita Canyon

True Story
 by Jackie Gibson

This is a true story. Having spent a lot of time making new sash and trim for the front windows of my cabin I decided to take a couple of days off of work and journey to the canyon to install my parts. I prepared all the items I’d need for my trip. I planned to pull it in on my dolly. I packed a cordless sawzall “a cabin owners must if you wanted to save time”. My husband tossed me a battery of witch he swore was fully charged.  My mission was to frame a new window opening and saw the siding to fit.
    I arrived at Chantry Flats the following morning and carefully packed my cart for the bumpy journey. I keep duct tape and shrink-wrap in my truck it is excellent for wrapping a dolly. I believe that by the time I wrapped everything onto my cart I had about eighty pounds to haul into the canyon.
    I slowly descended down the road toward the dirt path below. I let the weight of the cart pull me down. My knees were taking a beating but I held tight to the handle. Losing a load as priceless as the one I had on my cart down the canyon ravine would suck! When I finally made it to the dirt I was completely exhausted. I sat on a rock and drank a cold soda. My load was now at least twelve ounces lighter.
    I finally arrived in front of my cabin just before noon. I was anxious to get my cart unloaded so I could get to work. My cabin was a real mess. The roof was so rotten that I fell through it while sweeping just a week before. I managed to apply a tarp to keep the birds from flying through. The entire lid was infested with giant ants. Spiders hung from the windows like they owned the place and during the evenings if I wasn’t too tired I could watch the mouse circus. At least the bedroom gave me some seclusion from the animals on the other side of the door.
    I worked cutting with my sawzall for about five minutes and then the battery went dead “Thank You dear husband”. After hauling that stupid thing through the forest on my cart, I felt like throwing the darned thing out the window. Bugs were scampering to get out of my way in fear for their lives. I hate bugs! I continued to work until evening came. By this time I had several bug bites on my arms and back and managed to tear the front of my cabin off exposing the room to whatever happened to fly inside.
    I had decided to call it quits for the evening when I noticed the neighbor cabin owner showed up with a group of eager campers and a herd of little boys. They invited me for a meal but I declined as I was exhausted and decided to get some sleep. I retreated to my bedroom and closed the doors. If the neighbors were loud I didn’t noticed, as I was terribly tired. I slept for a couple of hours and then I heard the neighbor’s dog barking. I woke to hear crunching noises like a large animal walking through the forest. I could hear the campers on the porch next store talking. They must have heard the noise outside too. Finally whatever was going by passed and all was quiet again. I tried to go back to sleep but my back was itching badly. I began scratching. I felt two bumps sticking out from my skin. Frightened I lit a kerosene lamp and located a hand mirror. I lifted the back of my t-shirt and tried to get a good look at the lumps. Unfortunately I forgot my glasses at home so my vision was quite blurred. I twisted my head as far as I could to get a look at the bumps. To my horror I had reached the conclusion that I had somehow managed to pick up a couple of ticks.
    I knew that I would have to get these things out of my back. I wasn’t quite sure how but I’d remembered that they didn’t like to be hot. I went to the drawer and pulled out a butter knife I retrieved a candle from the table and sat back on the floor. My plan was to light the candle and heat the parasites up so that they would back out from my skin. I burnt their little butts several times. The many attempts were useless. They were not even fazed. Flustered and sick to my stomach from nearly burning the rest of my skin off I went back to the drawer and grabbed a pair of long handles silver scissors. These scissors belonged to my dear mother in-law and I am positive she never used them to remove ticks. I sat back down on the floor and twisted around with the scissors in hand I began trying to pull the ticks using the scissors like a V. This was very painful so I decided to go back to plan A. “The hot butter knife” This was still not working and feeling so sick of the whole mess I decided to cut them off. If I could only see! After I cut them I burnt them again. Keep in mind that this whole process was painful. I finally gave up and went to bed. I woke up the next morning and found that my back had been bleeding from the tick bites. Blood had dried my t-shirt to my skin. I peeled it off medicated my wounds and pulled on a clean shirt. I still had much to do before I could leave and get those things properly removed. Along with the ticks I had mosquito bites and I was miserable. I was still ambitious enough to finish what I had started. I had thought about asking the neighbors to take the ticks off my back but out of embarrassment I decided to wait until I got home. I worked until afternoon ignoring the pain from my back as much as possible. I didn’t want to think that bugs were back there eating me. Every time I moved my t-shirt would rub the sore spots and I would be reminded of what lie ahead when I got home.
    I finally finished my business and packed up to go home. Again I was exhausted from the evening and the job I just finished. I couldn’t wait to get home. I reached my home at about four thirty. My husband was waiting for me. I had called him several times from my cell phone so that he would be ready to operate. He lifted the back of my shirt to look at my wounds. This is what he said, “ I don’t see any ticks but remember those moles you used to have”. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I had totally forgotten that I had a couple of moles back there further more I couldn’t believe that I just amputated them the night before! Grateful that I didn’t actually have ticks I resolved to soak in a hot tub and forget the whole thing.
    The one great lesson I learned from this whole trip is, never leave home without your glasses!!!!