Another gem from the sick and twisted Patrick Hughes:
Kids, if you’re reading this and not sure what a VCR is, all you need to know is it was a magical box we used to look at cooters back in the 1980s, years before the Internet became such an efficient medium for delivering your pornography.The context of that post is that he's talking about earning money from babysitting, in his own unique way, but when he mentions bees and mowing lawns it reminded me of a rather unfortunate incident from my past.
Back in the day when we lived out in the sticks about 20 miles outside of downtown Nashville, our house sat on about five acres of out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere wilderness. The lawn was only about an acre and a half, but since my mom ran over a stump with the riding lawnmower, all we had was an old-school push mower for years. So guess who's task it was to cut the grass every time? Yep, it was mine.
An acre and a half is a lot of grass, but it was especially difficult since there were no straight lines, dozens of trees and shrubs, and the backyard steeply sloped off into the oblivion of the deep dark woods that only moonshiners or adventure seeking kids in the days before video games and cable tv would brave.
But since my dad had been a closet hillbilly for most of his life, it was the ideal spot to live. Lots of peace and quiet, no neighbors anywhere close, and plenty of room. And oh yeah, we had plenty of fruit trees, too. Not good fruit trees where you could go pick a fresh apple right off the branch and eat it like in an idyllic farm scene, but stuff like persimmons and nasty shiat like that.
The down side of having a bunch of fruit trees in the back yard is that it attracted a particularly nasty pest--ground dwelling hornets, also known down south as Yellow Jackets. Vengeful little bastards, they are.
Well, one Saturday morning when I was about ten years old, I was out there cutting the grass about halfway down the hill in the backyard and had the bad luck to run over one of their nests. Immediately the whole colony went to Defcon-1 and swarmed me like groupies on a sweaty rock star. I knew immediately that I was in trouble and took off running up the hill screaming Help--Bees! Bees! My dad came out of the house and turned the hose on me but they could swarm and attack much faster than I could run, so by the time I got to the front yard about sixty yards away, I'd been stung about 40 times all over the legs, arms, and torso. Luckily none of them got me on the face or head, but I was screaming and crying like a baby while getting hosed off in the ice-cold water from our limestone well.
Talk about a miserable and painful experience. I spent the rest of the afternoon blubbering away in my underwear while my mom and sisters covered me from head to toe with paste made out of baking soda to help ease the pain. It worked, barely. Luckily our family has strong immunity genes and I didn't have to go to the hospital or anything like that and I made a full recovery. Unfortunately, besides the severe pain, the downside was that they weren't nuclear hornets or anything like that, or I else could've been a superhero today. Some people react so unfavorably to a single bee sting that they have to carry an adrenaline shot kit around with them (I had an old roommate where this was the case) but since that particular brush with mortality, my Kung Fu is too strong for mere insects.
But guess who didn't have to mow the lawn any more that summer? And as a bonus, I had permission to pour gasoline down any hornets nest I could find and light that sucker up. Of course I always lit it and ran like hell, not caring if I set off a forest fire behind our house--those bastards remembered me and tried to get me a few more times before we burned them all out.
We moved away to St. Louis a couple years after that, and last I heard, all the ones that survived the firebombing were living under a bridge somewhere wishing they never messed with me.
PS. Maybe later this weekend I'll post about the other time I was almost killed by the wildlife in our backyard...