November 1, 2003. I’ll never forget that date as it was the day after Halloween, and it was a saturday. I hadn’t cut the grass outside the house (we live on a full acre) and my Dad asked me to cut grass before it got too dark. I got dressed in my work clothes, and then went out to the garage to get the lawn tractor, and I preceded to cut the grass.

There’s a small wooded area near the barbecue pit that we have, and I was passing behind it. I then heard this sound that didn’t sound like the motor from the tractor. I turned around and saw a sight that I will never forget. What looked like a hundred bees were buzzing behind me. I didn’t jump off the tractor immediately, as I foolishly thought I’d out run them (yeah, my brain slightly seized up) as they swarmed my head (yes, my HEAD) I ran to the back of the house which lucky for me is not far from the area that I was cutting, and turned on the waterhose that was there and doused myself with water.

My parents heard my screaming and my Dad ran outside to see the bees still around me, but also falling down due to the water. He grabbed a broom and started smacking me with it to kill the ones that weren’t being affected by the water. I went inside, and stripped off my clothes and started washing my hair. At this point in my life, I had really long curly black hair, and I later found out from my Mother who had researched it, that bees are attracted to the color black.

The bees were falling out, and my head was throbbing. I felt it, and it was swollen with bumps all over. My throat swelled up for (thankfully) an instant, then I could breath. I vomited, most likely due to the high percentage of stings I got. I don’t know how many, but it’s safe to say it was more than 20. Amazingly enough, aside from my upper lip being a bit swollen, my face still looked normal. I had a few stings on my chest, but it was my head and the back of my neck that had received the most damage. I spent the next 2 days pulling out stingers from my scalp and my sideburns.

My Mother concocted a home remedy from baking soda and that cooled the heat that I was getting from the stings. That helped ease the pain greatly. The next day I was taken to the nearby clinic, and the doctor prescribed a medicine to help with the swelling. I was in college, and had to attend the next day and taking a tennis course for my athletics credit, and he suggested I miss that class  just for that day.

I thanked my Dad for making me cut the grass earlier, as it was saturday, and on saturdays they always go to church. If they would have gone to church after I started cutting grass, well I’m fairly certain I would have passed out, and possibly died from the large amount of venom I absorbed. For a long time afterwards I was petrified of bees, and I still look over my shoulder sometimes when I cut grass here at the house just in case.

A few days later my Dad and I got some soap and water and killed the beehive. Where was the hive? in a broken wheel used to wrap up cable that was overturned that we somehow came into possession of. I never knew that bees made their home anywhere else. I was always under the assumption that they only did that in trees, or walls.

My Dad saved my life, and I will never forget that.

Rene’s song of the day: “Help!” by The Beatles

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