A friend of the family was recently assigned his first battalion. It was a pretty big deal for his career, so my family took a few days off from work and school to fly down to Fort Hood, Texas. We did this to view the traditional “Change of Command” ceremony.
Before the formal ceremony began, my wife and I were occupied with the standard socializing that you would expect at such events – lots of hand shaking, small talk, etc.
At one point, I noticed my seven-year-old son bent over, peering into a crack in the concrete. It was bad enough that he wasn’t standing upright, being attentive to the conversations taking place, but what really got my attention was that my son appeared to be a trip hazard. He was crouched just a few feet behind a elderly man that probably had no idea my son was behind him. The instant I saw this, I temporarily excused myself, then made my way over to remedy the situation.
As I asked my son to stand upright, he rose with an ant on his hand.
“Hey dad, what kind of ant is this?”, he asked.
“Well son, that’s umm ….. IT’S AN ACROBAT ANT!”, I exclaimed.
To understand my excitement, you’ll need to know I have two hobbies- rebuilding B&G compressed sprayers and collecting ants. Acrobat ants (Crematogaster spp.) just happened to be on my list of “specimens needed”. So after the ceremony, with my son’s help, we ever so nonchalantly collected three samples.
I can’t say the ant collection was the highlight of the trip, but it didn’t exactly hurt matters either.