Thursday, October 18, 2012

Yellow jackets, Yellow fairies, and Yellow water

When I was a kid, I liked to run...everywhere. I was a cottony tow-headed skinny little kid with knobby knees that were perpetually skinned up. I was a tom boy mostly, but I never wanted to be a boy. I liked to climb up in trees and run bare-footed. Stepping on honey bees and bumble bees were almost daily occurrences, but none of those stings really bothered me.

I liked snakes and spiders. These creatures have always been fascinating to me, but I had an unnatural fear of wasps and big hornets. I still do for that matter. Although I was basically a well behaved child, I didn't like the words, "don't do that" or "don't go near that". Probably the reason why I had/have a phobia about wasps is because when I was around four my mom told me not to ride my tricycle over and down a small dirt covered hill. I did anyway and ran over a yellow jacket nest in the ground.

Those little critters didn't take kindly to the wheels of that trike digging into their nest. They swarmed out of that hole in the dirt and proceeded to sting the ever loving daylights out of me. Mom heard me screaming and I remember pulling what seemed like a hand full of those bees from behind one knee. I was stung probably 20 or so times, but it could have been worse. And I don't have much of a fear of yellow jackets. It's buzzing big bees that get me.

One time when I was walking home from school with this boy named Billy, I stepped in a little ditch and felt something moving under my foot. It was a snake and this brave boy who had been walking with me jumped on his bike and sped off leaving me standing on the snake. For some reason, (remember, I'm not afraid of snakes,) I started screaming like, well, a little girl and began running across the field toward my home. I lost my shoes, school books, one sock, various pencils, hair clips, and the belt to my dress. I'm not sure how the belt came loose, but thinking back, it's a wonder I had anything on at all by the time my poor mother reached her once again screaming kid. I sometimes think I just liked the dramatics of it all.

Which brings me to the time I was a yellow fairy at my school's May Day celebration. Mom wrapped me in bright yellow crepe paper and fashioned wings with coat hangers covered in yellow tissue paper. I thought I was just the greatest yellow fairy in the second grade. We kids were instructed to dance around the Maypole as we held onto long ropes. Even back then, I loved to perform and I began dancing and leaping and soaring like I was covered in magical pixie dust. I didn't notice that the crepe paper costume began to unravel.

I thought all the clapping and carrying on was celebrating my wonderful performance. The louder the applause, whoops and hollers, the higher my kicks. With each kick, more crepe paper flew away in the wind. I noticed my mom frantically motioning me to come to her. Heck no, I had an audience and they liked me. By the time my mom got to me and began to pull me away from the Maypole, the only  part of my costume left were the tissue paper wings, and they were pretty shredded. So here I was wearing my white cotton underwear, shredded wings, and nothing else. I was oblivious to the fact that I was half naked in the middle of the parking lot of my school. I didn't care. I was convinced I was a hit and was destined to be the next great child star. Well, you know how that went.

One thing I regret as a kid, and I don't mean to be indelicate, is that I never learned how to pee outside. This might not be a big deal to you, but it was to me. I just never could get it. I wound up peeing in one shoe...every time. Do you know how uncomfortable it is walking around with one of your socks and shoes is wet and not from pure water? This would also make my mother mad, and my daddy laugh.

In the final scheme of things, I had a fantastic childhood despite bee stings, lost costumes, and the total lack of ability to keep one shoe and sock dry.


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