Mouth's Cradle

When I was in the fifth grade, a colony of beehives was placed on a vacant piece of property just down the street from my house. At first the increased bee population was not openly noticed. But as time went on, the neighborhood began to hear stories of horses, dogs, and people being stung. Once complaints were made with the county and state, the owners of the hives were told to move them. The hives were moved in the afternoon and news quickly spread that they were gone. I hopped on my bike and my dog Sandy (she was a Golden Retriever) followed as I headed down to the lot to investigate, being the curious eleven year old I was. I crossed the small drainage ditch that went the length of the road onto the property and had to walk my bike, as there were fox grape vines covering the ground.

Halfway into the lot a bee flew into my hair. A human's response is to swat it away, which I did. Bees are attracted to quick movements and within moments I was being attacked. I dropped my bike where I was and began running through the fox grapes. One of my shoes came off. I ran, flailing my arms as I went across the street to a neighbors house and began to roll in the grass to keep the bees off. I was shouting and knocking on the dorr for help. No one was home.

I walked the few houses of distance there was to my house and encountered the crazy lady who lived next door. She spoke in hushed tones and clipped her grass with scissors. I imagine that this is what Anne Heche was like when she went off the deep end and started saying she was an alien. Faye, the crazy neighbor-lady, asked what had happened and I said that I had been attacked by bees and she was astonished. I didn't wait around to listen to her talk her Hechean language, I passed by and walked into my yard and house. All the while Sandy was by my side.

My mom was horrified. She ripped off my shirt and dead bees fell out. She drew a warm bath and poured some baking soda into the water. She carefully removed the stingers that were still stuck in my skin and rubbed damp baking soda into my skin to kill the pain. After I was out of the tub and dressed again, I was taken to the nearby firestation for my vitals to be taken. The fireman said that he was surprised I was standing.

I went to school the next day and developed a fever around noon. I told my teacher that I wasn't feeling well and told her what had happened. I remember showing her the welts on my back. Now, I look back and think that she must have thought my parents were beating me. My mom picked me up and took me to the Emergency Department of the local hospital. They were surprised I was still alive.

The next day, one of the two state bee experts came to count my stings. He estimated between fifty-five and sixty-five, give or take the ten or so on my scalp.

I don't remember it being much of an issue after that. I recovered and went on about my business as an eleven year old. It makes for an interesting story to tell every now and again, an oral retelling is of course much more vivid and alive.

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