tracker jacket wasp -buZz, buZz, stINg

yesterday, between laundry and house work i spent the day reading hunger games.

i don’t want to ruin anything for anyone, but there is this intense moment when Katniss has been treed and she has to use the tracker jacket wasp nest to escape her captors.  reading this portion of the book brings us to the first ever saturday story time of my childhood, a hunger games knockoff.

my grandma esther is a huge gardener.  when we were kids she had a huge flower bed of red, purple, yellow (her favorite color), blue, pinks, oranges and greens that flowed down the hillside of the farm house.   this hillside location next to the driveway was wonderful for her to be able to go out and clip a bundle of flowers and arrange them for the dinner table.  however, for us kids this was a horrible location.  the basketball goal was located on the same side of the driveway as the hillside of flowers.  and when you over shot a basket the ball always rolled to a stop in the flowers.

my grandma’s garden was filled with wonderful smells, but it also was filled with danger for those allergic to bee and wasp stings.  one weekend my uncle tim, brother thad, twin dusk (yep, lucky i came out first), and i were playing basketball when a missed shot landed in the center of the flower bed.  this is when our own hunger games began….

the perfect spring weather and the fragrant flowers had attracted several gigantic, enormous bubble bees who were chillin’ in grandma’s garden. from a great distance you could make out the yellow and black stripes around these killer insects, the flower garden today was not a safe arena to play.  my uncle tim, (a couple years older than my brother) had this insane idea to catch a few of these unorthodox sized bumble bees in one of my grandma’s pickling mason jars.  thus, he created his own version of the tracker jacket wasp nest.

our hunger games moment consisted of rolling the captured wasp back and forth between us, on the driveway, confusing the deadly (to some-manly me) bumble bee and then rock,paper, scissor to see who would open the lid.  my rock, paper, scissor skills were lacking and in the final round between the four of us paper was not the right pick.  the sharp pointed scissor action of my brother left me in a precarious situation.

my uncle handed me the mason jar with our self made tracker jacket and gave it a final vigorous shake assuring me i was safe.  then the other three, chickens ran and hid in the safety of the garage.

my safety probably would have been a little more sure if my actions had been faster.  terrified of what we had done to anger the beast in the jar i was frozen in fear.  i couldn’t make my hands open the lid no matter how many shouts of “just do it” came from the garage.  i was alone in the drive way, watching a once dazed and confused bumble bee getting his bearings back in the mason jar.  so i came up with my own plan of release – throw the jar on the driveway breaking it, releasing the bumble bee, and giving me time to escape.

my escape route is where i fell short on my thinking.  i threw the jar down breaking it and turned to run in the opposite direction to safety.  what i didn’t realize was i had backed my self into running down the hillside of flowers filled with bumble bees we hadn’t caught.  i think our bee was more a mocking-jay telling the others after his release the torture of the mason jar making me their target.  i escaped death that day but not the stings.

my grandma’s quick hands removed the stingers and quickly made a homemade paste to slow the swelling.  like katniss, i may have been the victor but it was a game i never wanted to engage again.

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