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Writer-s-Bloc

Memories that bite

By Doreen Zyderveld-Hagel 

Something was lurking in the bushes during our daughter’s wedding and turns out that something was a hornet’s nest the size of a soccer ball.  

However, I didn’t find out about the giant nest until 10 days after the nuptials. I was standing on the balcony of our home where the ceremony had taken place when a gardener pointed out the nest and informed me that they wouldn’t trim the bush until pest control dealt with the nest.  

I couldn’t resist coming down to photograph it, and remarked that the nest looked cool and they seemed a bit shocked with my response and boldness. 

One fellow seemed particularly nervous when he suddenly realized that the wasps were actually bald-faced hornets, which are particularly aggressive and will attack anyone or anything that invades their space. Each one can sting multiple times.

My previous experience with those nasty insects was on our former West Side acreage on Upper Glenrosa several years ago now. My husband, Len, and I had just walked into the barn when we were instantly assailed. 

Len got stung under his watch band, while I was bit on the heel. We shrieked, cussed and ran out of the barn. The cat, dog and horse got in on the act and bolted too. 

The cat ran back and forth yowling, but was not stung; he perhaps was just being melodramatic and poking fun at us by mimicking our actions. As for the horse, being a prey mammal, he was in flight mode, scramming with us, away from an unseen danger;.

The dog probably just wanted to get while the gettin’ was good.

It would have been rather comical to have caught that on tape; it was most definitely a You Tube moment.   

Later, I sheepishly asked the neighbour if she heard any yelling or swearing and she said no, but perhaps she was just being polite because we could have awakened the dead with all that commotion. 

In any event, you would think with my previous horrific encounter with those particularly evil insects that I wouldn’t be standing there, less than three metres away, photographing the fiery tempered flying fiends. 

On the other hand, when I was 10 years old, all bravado with no brains, I threw bricks at a yellow jackets’ nest on the fence, in an attempt to destroy it.  Thinking it so hilarious when they would come blasting out, buzzing away angrily, but couldn’t figure out what was behind those clay missiles.   

Alas, after being tormented for several minutes, they did realize the source, and I was busted. In a cloud of biting insects I screamed and ran while swiping them away at them. One got me on the neck. 

Then, I went a bawling to my friend’s mom; she put some vinegar on it, which soothed the sting instantly. I knew better than to go home as my mom would have figured out that I probably had it coming, and wasn’t some innocent victim, and she would have really chewed me out, adding insult to injury. 

It also dawned on me that I was lucky to get off with just one sting; it could have been far worse. 

However no harm no foul on this day, some 40 plus years later. As a somewhat more mature adult, I managed to walk away unscathed, as did our unsuspecting wedding guests more than a week earlier. 

Our bite-covered guardian angels must have been working overtime.

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