There's a rather large jar of Italian Nutella still sitting in my office. I neglected to mail it to Carlton before I left town again. He claims the Italian version is much better than the US product.
Anyways... this reminds me of a true story I wrote as a facebook note and have been meaning to post to my blog. With Carlton's permission, here it is:
As a kid, I liked show and tell almost as much as I loved bugs. My dad would come home from work and frequently find me in the middle of our long, dirt drive, in my bathing suit and rubber galoshes, crouched over an ant hill, simply watching the activity... well, alright, I preferred to plop unsuspecting caterpillars over the hole to see how each critter would react... and maybe I shouldn't mention I also liked to see if butterflies could still fly, missing a wing or two? Ants, butterflies, mayflies, spiders, praying mantids... you name it, I'd catch them, play with them for a while, and then let them go.
So, in the 2nd grade, I took a praying mantid to school for show and tell in my shiny, new bug cage from Grandma. Show and tell wasn't until after morning recess, so I carried my little friend out to the playground with me. While hanging around on the monkey bars, I looked down and noticed the cage was open and my mantid was... gone!
I looked up to see you, Carlton Duty, a very tall 3rd grader with your arms up in the air, proclaiming “FREE THE ANIMALS!!!"
In tears, I ran to the playground teacher and told on you. I’m sure she scolded you as we frantically looked around for my mantid before the end of recess. I finally found it...
Under the monkey bars.
Thanks, Carlton Duty. Your name is forever burned into my memory from 2nd grade.
But, wait! The story doesn’t end there…
I majored in entomology in the midwest and by happenstance headed the invert. zoo. dept. at a natural history museum for a couple years. I was studying the field effects of organic pesticides (bacteria and a virus) on non-target Lepidoptera with an eye towards more responsible stewardship of our natural areas. Also, I was participating in a couple butterfly conservation projects. As part of my job and with more knowledge than I had as a kid, I loved rearing various bug-type animals. My apartment was often FILLED with insects.
So, several years ago, Kia and I were catching up. I told her what I was doing and mentioned my 2nd grade story as evidence that I have always loved bugs. She then told me she had recently seen you, Carlton Duty. She said you were working for Clark Pest Control!
As a ps and in Carlton's defense, here's the following fb thread:
Carlton: Katie has a good story to tell, and I will start it with the apology from me to her. "I'm so sorry. I feel horrible."
Julie: She has been telling that story for years! I'm so glad she got to tell you about it. hahaha. :)
Carlton: The worst part is I vividly remember it.
Katie: Haha, Carlton, you remember it, too, from 3rd grade?!?
Carlton: Kia was yanking your chain. I think in 1999 I was farming grapes in Delano. Waaaayyy worse than Orkin. Meh, not so bad. I was an accountant. The last thing I wanted to do was pay for another round of pesticides. It hurt my P&L.
Katie: Seriously!?! Dang, the working for Clark was the cherry on top of my story. I may be seeing Kia later today and will have to ask her. But with 4 kids running around, her memory is shot. Julie was correct in stating that I've been telling this story for years!
Katie: Carlton, Kia confirmed that when she talked with you back when, she pictured that TM van with the big bug on the side. Are you sure you never worked for Clark Pest Control?
Carlton: 100% positive. I've done a lot of stuff, but pest control isn't one of them!
Carlton: I figured it out. I used to work for these guys. Kia got confused with the other Clark.
Katie: LOL! I'm almost sad to hear you never worked pest control. Thanks for letting me share my story with you! Welcome to fb! You look like you're doing really well with wife, old stang, and cute doggies. Great!
Kia: I was thinking about this all night trying to rack my brain, even dreaming about it. I knew I wasn't witty enough to make it up, but get confused, yeah, that's more like it. lol
Julie: Carlton, you look like you're ready to do some pest control in your profile pic.
Katie: I thought the same thing, too, Julie! That must be his old flame the mustang.