Saturday, August 17, 2013
Daily Dose #69: The Bee Boy / A Lake Boy Tale
Back when I was a little shaver (around 4), we used to visit my Momma's best friend's camp on the western shores of Owasco Lake. Both friends had several kids around the same age, so it was always a lazy summer day hang. The rote routine: Swimming, playing in the woods, macaroni salad, hot dogs and lemonade for lunch, nappy time on the front porch, more swimming, and then packing up and getting home before Dad arrived from work.
I was the youngest in that combined gaggle of goslings, so I was always running around trying to play "catch up", and the older kids were always trying to ditch me. Such is the social dynamic of groups of children. The youngest is always the outcast, bringing up the rear.
One of the pastimes enjoyed was "Penny On The Rails". A real live train used to run on the west side of that lake back in the early 1960's, and right through that camp like clock work at high noon.
So all the kids would take pennies and put them on the tracks, go eat lunch, and after the train rumbled through, run and collect their squished copper coins.
The older kids would always get there first, so by the time I brought up the rear, all the flattened pennies would be scarfed up. It was always an exercise in futility for me, but I never stopped trying to be part of the action.
One time while chasing after them, I stepped right on a yellow jacket nest in my barefeet, wearing only my plaid swim trunks. As the angry little beasts swarmed all over me, up me, and in me, I really didn't know what to do. I knew to stay away from bees, but when you're covered from head to toe with them within seconds, including having a mouthful of them.... I kinda was at a loss, and in shock.
I called to my brother and sister, but they were way ahead of me on their penny retrieval mission... so I turned around and tried to get back to the camp, where my mother and her friend were laconically cleaning up from lunch, smoking cigarettes and sipping their afternoon decompression cocktail.
I must have been some sight. I was a half-pint, walking, talking festering, robot bee hive. As my mother tell the tale, she would recount "You couldn't see any SKIN!...just bees".
My mother has always been good in emergency crisis situations, and I never failed to provide them for her in my accident prone younger years. She ran down the hill, picked me up, ran down the dock, threw me in the water, jumped in, pulled off my bathing trunks, and held me under while squeegeeing bees off my little body with her bare hands.
Then she pulled me out of that baptism by bee and finger lake water, threw me in the car, and hustled my now ballooning and bloated body to the hospital, all without saying a word. She just dealt it down.
Up until yesterday, I have not been stung by a bee... a pretty good run of almost 50 years of a clean, sting free record.
But yesterday, while weeding the garden, I inadvertently stuck my hand in a nest of yellow jackets.
Hello my old striped friends! Within a nano second, I was about to revisit the torture I had once endured back in 1964. Fortunately this time, I was wearing a few more clothes.
I did a clumsy dance (I'm naming this dance "The Yellow Jacket", and I fully expect it to sweep the nation) to the hose and escaped with minimal damage, except to my soggy ego. In my brief forays into naturalism, the lifetime score is Bees=2, Little Georgie=0.
But the first word I uttered when I stuck my hand in that nest and saw the swarm fly at my face was "MOMMA"... then the unending stream of expletives followed, like a little kid trying to catch up.