We were back out in the woods on a day when we weren’t building forest tents and we were looking for something to do to pass the time. It was 1980-something. Pre-internet, pre-cell phone, pre-parents-giving-a-damn-where-you-were-all-day. As long as you showed up for dinner, all was well. It was a time when we could pile willy-nilly into the back of a pickup truck with no fear of being pulled over because we lived in a itty bitty town, population: 950, and the sheriff (this was a real Andy Griffith situation) would have just taken us home anyway – no tickets – he knew where everyone lived.
So, we’re in the woods and I was using a stick to poke at a hole in the ground because it was 1980-something in Sandy Lake, PA and it was the best I could come up with to do at the time. My brother and sister were engaged in activities of a similar intellectual level (pretty sure my brother was climbing on and off a nearby tree). My sister was somewhere else, not far, but clearly not worth paying attention to at the time because there was a hole in the ground that I needed to poke with a stick. And that should pretty much sum up rural life for ya.
Anyhow, if you ever see a small hole in the ground that seems out of place, my advice to you is to NOT poke it with a stick repeatedly. And I suggest you do NOT start hitting the area around the hole with the stick. And if you do those things anyway, I strongly recommend not actually shoving the stick in the hole. And here’s why:
Remember when the bees chased Winnie the Pooh?
All the way to the woodline. We lived in rural Pennsylvania. There was a lot of wood to run through to get to the woodline.
Also, I’m allergic to bees.
I’ve always hated running. It’s not the exercise. I work out at least five days per week and I enjoy getting my blood flowing. I danced for years. Enjoyed step aerobics for quite some time. I just don’t like running. The jolt to my bones. The…running part. Ugh. Look, if you see me running, you’re gonna want to run, too. Okay? But when an entire hive of bees erupts from the forest floor because, like a dumbass, you poked at the entrance of an underground hive until the bees had enough and then they chased you down intent on stopping the threat to their underground queen’s life, you fucking run.
I took off as soon as the black cloud of bees shot out of the ground and came flying up around me. My brother made some incoherent noise and grabbed my sister, who was no older than five at the time, and started running full speed with her. I remember running through blackberry bushes and thinking the thorns would hurt but the bees would hurt more (and maybe kill me). I actually took the time to think that if we weren’t running from pissed off bees, I’d tread carefully through the blackberries (which inconveniently covered the entire area we had to run through on the way back to the house) so I wouldn’t scratch up my legs.
About the time I’m having this thought, a bee flies directly into my right ear (that buzzy little motherfucker) and stings me. Hi, I’m allergic to bees. And my name means honeybee. WTF? Anyway, my brother took three stings to the back and my sister escaped unstung.
As soon as we made it to the treeline, they stopped following us and presumably returned to their hive to wait for another idiot to poke them with a stick. But those bees…those bees chased the three of us all the way through the woods, just like Winnie-the-Pooh, y’all.