Archived Story

Sayings sure can define life

Published 2:40pm Thursday, October 3, 2013

Life, they say, is what happens while you’re making other plans. Extra money, they also say, is what you have just before your car breaks down.

Dad used to say, more or less: Beat your head against a concrete block wall; it’ll feel so good when you stop. As a saying, that one needs more definition.

If you read last week’s account of a friend who was infected with a life-threatening virus transmitted by a wood tick, that helps define dad’s saying a bit.

Every morning when he got up, after they figured out what was wrong, he felt great.

Until the next morning, when he felt great (er). Until the next morning, etc., etc. It’s great to feel great that many times. Not worth it, but, I’m just saying.

When we were children and were upset way out of proportion to what it was we wanted but couldn’t have, crying and carrying on and bawling (Bawling—now there’s a word you don’t hear much anymore.), dad used to tell us that we’d better quit or he’d give us something to really bawl about.

See? Everything is relative.

It’s apple picking time here on the farm, and the yellowjackets are out in force.

Walk out the door here, and the hum from the hornets high up in the cottonwood trees is just short of thunderous . (I call yellowjackets hornets. In fact, there’s not much difference between them.).

I don’t know what they’re doing up there, but there are a lot of them doing it.

Hornets like sweet apples, and are one of the pests that have to be dealt with.

They’ll chew up a lot of apples.

I usually pick a few when they start chewing, and smash them on the ground to draw them away.

However, while they’re eating your apples, they are also eating any kind of insect that is living in your tree: caterpillars and flies and things.

Down south, yellowjackets (hornets) are purchased to live in some of the crop fields, where they keep nasty insect populations down.

When you’re picking apples, one of the hazards is to inadvertently pick an apple that a hornet has already chosen.

He won’t mind the ride from the tree to your picking sack so much, but when you carefully put the apple down in the sack, he’ll nail you!

According to the Internet, the hornet’s venom is considered the most vicious of any of the bees, and actually sticks at least four poisons in with the sting.

Plus they don’t lose their stinger like a honeybee does, so they can jab you more than once.

I wasn’t even picking apples the other day. I was lunching outside, nursing a sore knee (Went to the doctor: “Don’t use it.”), and a back strain, (Didn’t go. What for?) when I grabbed my sandwich and was stung by a hornet just between my middle finger’s last joint and the nail.

BAM! He hit like a brick! It wasn’t the bee’s fault, really.

I pinched him when I picked up my sandwich, which he thought smelled good, too.

I knew from experience what was coming, and really, so does everyone. A honeybee sting isn’t much fun, but it hurts and goes away.

Not so a hornet, those bites like to linger.

An analysis of the venom they inject into you is scary, but they’re not very big, so nature gave them the bee equivalent of a nuclear bomb to defend themselves with.

The good thing about a hornet sting? For two days, my finger hurt so much I forgot about my knee or my back.

The only way to make my finger feel better would involve a concrete block wall.

The up side to the down side.

Sort of.

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