Friday, June 25, 2010

My Dad My Son and Killer bees

There are not words to explain how much I love my kids. They have turned into the people that I hope they would be. Below is a picture of my BOY at a recent bicycle race. He is ‘hucking’ (as we say, see note below) a bicycle somewhere. Maybe he didn’t like the bike.

Seeing this I can’t help but think that growing up in Cave Creek has served him well. It reminds me of a day a few years back. My father had called to tell me that there was a huge swarm of bees in his Palo Verde tree. Usually this is no big deal, but he was on chemotherapy. Years before after a man in Carefree had died in an attack by “Killer Bees," my good friend and ‘bee keeper,’ Bill Payne had explained that bees get weird around sick people.” Apparently the bees react to the smells of the sick and it causes them to attack.

Not knowing if these were Africanized or “Killer” bees and not wanting my elderly parents to be another news story, I went over ASAP and brought my son Joey.

Upon arrival we found a huge swarm, about two feet across, in a branch of my parents tree, that hangs over their driveway. It’s quite a sight. The worker bees form a giant ball that protects the queen. This living ball of bees will park, so to speak, in a tree or shrub over night and then move during the day, until it finds a new place to build a hive. When they are on the move they can be extra dangerous.

After assessing the bee situation Joey and I decided that the smartest course of action was to shoot a pellet gun into the hive, hoping they would get mad and take off. We hid behind a wall about thirty feet from the bees, all the while having an escape plan that included running into my parents house. After several shots we decided that, although we were causing great damage to a few bees the hive was not aware of our assault. So we tried getting in the safety of the truck cab and ramming the tree. The problem being (get it!) we had to choose between hitting the tree hard enough to knock the bees free and not hitting so hard as to dent the bumper of my truck. After several tries and no mad swarm of bees and being the rocket scientist we are we, decided to “HUCK” rocks (Huck; a hillbilly colloquialism, meaning to throw or toss with great effort.) at this hive of several hundred, if not thousand, bees. This was one of the great redneck moments of our lives. We start out by standing about 25 feet from the tree tossing a small rock and then turning and jumping, as fast as we could. into the safety of the truck cab after about ten tries we moved a little closer and the rocks got bigger. Soon the redneck mind took over and the hucking began in earnest. This is where the element of being the best rock hucker, meets the possibility of a full-scale attack from thousands of pissed off bees. So we huck and run, huck and run. Each time the rocks get bigger and we get closer. Laughing harder and harder. Finally being the big dog, I have to just get it done.

I grab a huge rock and walk up to the tree and toss directly into the swarm; the sky is suddenly full of a cloud of bees looking for someone to pay for the disruption.

The humor has ‘gone south,’ with eyes the size of saucers, we jump, screaming, into the truck and floor it. Joey calls my parents and tells them not to go outside until the next day. My father being older, wiser and calmer, waits about ten minutes, walks outside to assess the situation, only to find the hive waited about five minutes and went right back to the protection of the Palo-verde, and where right where we had found them.

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