Where were we? Ah, yes, the other memory I was telling you about….
Actually, there’s yet another one that I’ll give you real quick: another friend of theirs whose name was Dave (may have even been family somehow) owned a motorcycle/dirt bike of some sort that had really fat tires on it (keep in mind that you’re dealing with someone who’s never had any interest in motorcycles, hardly ever been on one and is attempting to share a memory of an incident that’s going way back to somewhere around eight years old). They had a decent-sized field behind their A-frame house and Dave was over one day riding his bike along the perimeter of the field. He asked us three kids if we wanted to ride and we said what any kid under the age of ten would say: “YEAH!!” Cindy (the daughter of these friends of my parents) wanted to go first, so my brother and I, being the gentlemen that we were, naturally let her go right ahead (the fact that she had been on this bike with Dave before and we hadn’t been had very little to do with it). She went around the field with Dave and looked to us to be having a great time. But when she got back around to where we were and the bike stopped, she let the side of her lower leg brush up against the smokin’-hot muffler as she got off the bike. Once her screaming dropped a few decibels to incessant crying and her Dad took her in the house to doctor up her leg (we watched it blister up almost immediately), Dave turned around to my brother and I and asked which one of us was going next. Yeah, right. Like that’s going to happen after we had just witnessed the carnage this demon bike could produce. No way! As it turned out, my brother decided to go, but me? Ain’t me, babe. Pass on by. Nope. Uh-uh. Then, after some ridicule, pressure and intimidation, I was forced against my will to get on the bike and go for a ride (OK, maybe it wasn’t quite like that, but in that far and distant memory, it sure seems that way now). I do have a hazy memory of feeling the bike under me hitting every possible bump in the field, watching those big fat tires turn, hearing the horribly loud noise of the bike (you know me and loud noises) and being absolutely terrified of my leg or any other part of me touching the muffler. Believe it or not, I’ve never had another opportunity to ride a motorcycle since.
So anyway, on to the rest of the story. As I was relating to you before, the A-frame house that Cindy’s family lived in was at the top of a small hill at the end of a very long driveway. Her Mom and Dad had a decent-sized tractor tire that they used for a flower bed. It was laid on its side in the front yard at the top of the hill. Well, one late afternoon in the early summer of somewhere between ages seven and nine for me, my brother and I were out there with my Mom to weed our garden which was at the bottom of that small hill that led up to the house. Somehow, I got myself out of weeding (probably had something vitally important that needed my immediate attention up by the house, especially around the wooden playset Cindy had up there) and had eventually gravitated to the tractor tire flower bed. (Now, what you are about to read about may have been precipitated with a warning from Cindy’s Mom to stay away from the flower bed, but this is inconsequential and should be ignored.)
The flower bed that year hadn’t had much done to it, so the dirt on the surface inside the tire had weathered away in places, leaving small gaps between the dirt and the inside rim of the tire. These, by the way, are perfect places for hideous insects to build nests–like, say, wasps for example–whose sole purpose in all of God’s creation is to sting innocent children innocently playing on something that they innocently shouldn’t be playing on. I had the bright idea of stepping up onto the tire and running around the rim of it as fast as I could go. What happened next is somewhat of a blur, but I remember seeing a very mad something of a dark brown color streak through the air toward my feet as I ran around the tire rim. Suddenly it felt like somebody hit one of my ankles with a baseball bat and it burned like fire! I leaped into the air and my feet suddenly became the whirring circle of constant motion that you see on the Road Runner cartoons from the Bugs Bunny Show. I also noticed, as suspended animation hung me in the air for just a couple very slow seconds, that a large squadron of these vehement creatures was making its way across the tire with supersonic speed to my very sensitive and now highly-charged-with-adrenaline person. As fast as my feet were moving, however, the wasps still found their mark–over and over again–as I flew down the hill towards my Mom, screaming like a girl the whole way. They eventually gave up the chase (probably due to my own version of the Road Runner), but they definitely left their mark.
And so goes another sordid childhood memory of years gone by….