Growing up, I distinctly remember having beehives in my backyard. My dad was a beekeeper for several years, and I became accustomed to the large wooden hotels that towered in the corner of our yard. Their four-walled homes balanced atop each other and found shade under our fruit-filled grapefruit tree. You would think that being around these temperamental insects would have scared me as a child, but it didn’t. Unfortunately, quite the opposite occurred. I seemed to grow in ignorance as I assumed that they would never hurt me and that their only ability was to produce delicious honey filled combs for which we could season our fry bread with.
One humid summer day I found myself bored, and my five-year-old imagination got the best of me. I retrieved my little sister Christina, who was 4 at the time, and I told her of my elaborate plan for that afternoon. “Now you will be in charge of waking up the bees, and I will be in charge of waking up the ants,” I instructed, with a stern tone to my adolescent voice. Like a giddy puppy, she followed me, and we happily gathered the instruments necessary to complete our important tasks. After finding two sturdy tapping sticks and one charcoal umbrella, we were off into the backyard. I motioned Tina over to where the beehives stood silently, while I found myself a nicely established ant hill to paddle on. Once in position we both got to work, pounding our sticks in an effort to wake the dreaming insects from their slumber. “What a great idea,” I thought.
It didn’t take long for me to notice that Tina’s task of waking the bees was getting much more of a reaction then my thumping of the ant-filled dirt. I quickly gave up on the dreadfully boring ants, dropping my stick and grabbing our trusty umbrella. It was time. As the bees continued to file out of their homes angrily, I threw open the umbrella and pulled it over my sister and I. We stood there in the stiff yellow grass in awe, dozens of angry bees dancing around us was like a buzzing carousel. We were silent as the cloud of bugs attempted to penetrate our makeshift shield. I was so proud of our accomplishment. We had done it, and we were entertained. It was a success.
Suddenly, I noticed a lone bee fly under our umbrella and on to Tina who was beside me. It was just seconds before her shrill scream penetrated my right ear and she took off running. I instantly knew what had happened, and I ran into the house to report it to my Mom. As I scrambled to explain what had happened, I couldn’t quite get the words out right. My Mom stared at me confused, as all she seemed to hear was the word “Pea” repeated a hundred times. Finally, she got the idea and we both darted for the backyard. As she rushed outside she found my sister Tina, who was obviously in a lot of pain. I couldn’t help but feel partially responsible, as it was my idea. My silly, stupid idea. That was the last time we woke up the insects, and I understood why.