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​Honey, Bees Can Make You Bumble!

t was a warm, sunny day in July, many, many years ago. In two months, I would officially be a teenager. As I recall, it was a Saturday, and our entire family had piled into two cars and we were headed to the State Fair in Sacramento.

My dad and mom, along with my grandparents (my mom's mother and father), were riding in the car with us. My mother's sister, her husband, and their two kids were following behind us. We were all excited, looking forward to the prospects of the day.

We were rolling up State Highway 99, and as I remember, it was somewhere north of Galt when it happened. The cars didn't have air conditioning in those days, and during hot weather they were kept cool with what we called "2-60" AC. As many of you will already know, the "2-60" meant two windows rolled down at 60 mph.

animated bumble bee, by Don Webster

My mother was sitting in the passenger seat with her arm resting on the door. All of a sudden she jumped straight up in her seat, yelping in alarm.

"What's the matter?" my father asked.

"Something hit my arm, " my mom said, as she fidgeted in her seat, her head looking like it was on a swivel

" Don't worry about it," my dad said.

What happened next was pretty exciting. In retrospect, it was funny-exciting for me, but it sure wasn't funny-exciting for my mother. She was screaming in obvious pain, lending the appearance that she was about to leap out of a car going over 50 mph!

"What's wrong?" my dad asked.

"Something bit me!" my mom screamed as she was hanging half out of the car.

Before my dad could ask the next question, my mom answered it for him. "On the butt!" she cried out in obvious pain.

"...On the butt?" my dad asked. It sounded like he didn't believe her.

I pulled myself up from the back seat, curious about what was going on, and then I saw it. Wriggling around, obviously still alive but stunned (probably because my mom sat on it) was a bumblebee. "It's a bumblebee!" I yelled.

"Aw, geez..." my dad said. He immediately slowed down and pulled our car off the highway and stopped on the shoulder of the road.

My uncle pulled his car over behind us, with my mother howling like a banshee the entire time. Everyone came running up from the other car. "What's the matter!?" my aunt asked.

"Mom got stung on the butt by a bumblebee!" I said.

By this time, my mother had already gotten out of the car, and my dad had taken off one of his shoes and dispatched the poor bumblebee with it.

"Oh, it hurts!" my mom wailed, pulling up her dress half-way in an attempt to locate the damaged area.

As luck would have it, we'd pulled off the highway near a bridge with a creek running under it. After some discreet examination of my mom's wound by my aunt, she came up with the bright idea to take my mother down to the creek and treat the bee sting with a mudpack. "That sounds like a good idea," my dad said, shaking his head the way men do when something happens to a woman that men believe could only happen to a woman.

We all stood around on the shoulder of the road while my aunt took my mother down to the creek below the bridge.

I heard a noise, and looked back behind my uncle's car to see another car pulling off the highway. Presently, three, young men dressed in sailor's uniforms got out of the car. They were laughing and poking at one another the way sailors do as they meandered in our direction, two of them lighting up cigarettes.

I don't know why, but nobody in our family anticipated what was about to happen next.
The sailors walked past us, all three of them smiling at my dad and my uncle. "Howdy!" they said, almost in unison.

"Howdy," my dad said.

"You fellers headed to the fair?" my uncle asked.

"Yessir!" one of the sailors said. "We're just taking a little break from driving."

When the sailors reached the bridge, they stopped. One of them casually walked to the guard rail and looked down toward the creek. I happened to be watching him.

He got this big grin on his face and motioned the other two sailors over to him.

The two sailors walked over and looked down as the first sailor started to laugh.

All three sailors were laughing now, one of them pointing at something. There came a shriek, followed by more shrieks from down below the bridge.

The three sailors hustled quickly away from bridge and headed back toward their car, still laughing. They glanced sheepishly at my dad as they passed.

"Sounds like you boys saw quite a show," my dad said.For some reason, my dad wasn't angry or upset. In fact, he was actually smiling.

We had to listen to my mother as she scolded my dad all the way to Sacramento. "What on earth were you thinking by letting those men just stand there laughing! Didn't you realize I was bent over with my panties down around my ankles!"

My dad, being a wise man with considerable experience in situations like this, continued to keep his eyes on the road. He didn't smile, and he didn't say a word. My grandfather, who had remained silent the entire time, and must have had some kind of dispensation according to his age and status, laughed so hard I thought he was going to pee his pants.

Don E. Webster has been engaged in a wide variety of outdoor pursuits for over 60 years. His recently published book, Bury Me In My Waders -- An Old Duck Hunter Recalls His Fowl Past, currently ranks among the most popular, best-selling duck hunting books on Amazon Books and Amazon Kindle. His next book, “Double-Ought Buck” a novel, will be available in December. Webster was the recipient of the 2013 Phil Ford Humor Award from the Outdoor Writer’s Association of California for his hilarious description of hunting dogs in his MyOutdoorBuddy column entitled “Canine Comics.” Don's website is donewebster.com.

 

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