• A bad day at Putah Creek

    by Donald K. Sanders

    I had a bad day at Putah Creek today. When I say bad day, I mean bad day! The last time I had a day this bad was in 1970. That day was bad too. So, here’s the deal. I’m going to tell you about my latest bad day, but I don’t want everybody to know, so keep this to yourself.

    On this particular day I woke up very early. So early, in fact, I had to look to see if the sun was up. I looked at my watch and it said 9:30. My wife was just going out the door to visit her godfather that was turning 90 years old. I had to make my own bowl of cereal. It was Fruity Pebbles. I spilled a little bit on my shirt, but that’s OK, I wore this shirt yesterday so it wasn’t clean anyway.

    I thought about taking a bath but I was already dressed, so why take them all the way off again just for a bath. I was all set for a cowboy movie, but there was a stinkin’ bicycle race on one channel and a bunch of people swimming up little lined isles on the next. I thought, “Heck with this, I’m going down to the creek.” (I’ve been helping out at the new nature park.)

    My plan was to get out the weed eater and cut up some Himalayan blackberries before they spread all over the creek. So, some 30 minutes or so later, I was weed whacking berries down at the creek. Everything was going just fine and I was whacking away at those berries until something stung me on the arm. I thought, “Dangit, I’ve been stung on the arm!”

    This sort of thing doesn’t happen to me very often so I just keep cutting those berries. Next thing I know, I’m stung again, on the same arm. I thought, “Wow, imagine that. I’ve been stung twice in one day. I’ll bet that will never happen again in a hundred years.” I kept cutting those berries.

    The funny thing was that I never saw a single bee, wasp, or anything else of that nature. I thought, “I wonder if they’re nannobees?” That’s when it happened! All of a sudden those nannobees were stinging me all over my body. I didn’t have to think about that so I started thinking about how I’m going to get away from those bees.

    Now, a smart man would have jumped in the creek, so I took off running the other way. I stopped about 100 yards from the berries and paused a moment before I decided to run some more. I ran to my truck and tried to get in the door. It dawned on me that I still had the weed eater strapped onto my chest because I couldn’t actually get in the truck, but I tried just the same. The weed eater blade was throwing sparks when I tried to close the door.

    It was about this point in time when I started hearing a little girl screaming. The screaming got louder and louder until I realized that it was me, screaming like a little girl. Now, I didn’t know what to do, so I got out of the truck and ran to the other door thinking it would be easier to get the weed eater in on that side. That didn’t work either.

    Of course, those nannobees were still stinging me just about everywhere there is to be stung. The screaming got louder and more desperate, so I rolled the window down thinking I could stick the weed eater out the window and drive away really fast. I mean to tell you I was just going to start crying when all of a sudden they quit stinging me.

    OK, I’ll swear on a stack of Bibles that I never saw a single bee. If it wasn’t for all the pain I would think that it was all in my mind. You know, psychotramatical, or something like that. Anyway, my mind drifted back to my childhood and the first time I was stung by a bee. Stung once, my whole body began to swell until no one could recognize me. It took a trip to the emergency room and a couple of shots to bring me back to my normal, beautiful self.

    I remember thinking, “I’d better get someone to check on me for the next couple of hours or I could die and no one would even know till they saw the weed eater sticking out of the window of my truck. I called everyone I know and no one was home. Next I sent text messages to everyone. No answers there either.

    There was nothing for me to do except to turn on the TV, lie down, and die. The stupid bicycle race was still on, so I turned it to Martha Stewart and laid my head on a picture of Jesus. I was almost gone, and a bright light came upon me and I was healed except for the bee stings when the phone rang and my friend Libby Earthman said she was sending her husband, Reid, over to babysit me until my wife got home.

    So this is how it was. I was chit-chatting away and Reid was watching the bicycle race. I asked him if he was going to give me mouth-to-mouth if I should stop breathing. Well, the odds of that happening didn’t look good to me so I acted like I was watching the bicycle race too but I remember thinking, “Yeah, he’ll give me mouth-to-mouth if I stop breathing.”

    So, now I’m thinking this story would make a good column so I sit down at the computer to put it all down on paper. Well, not paper but, aw never mind. Anyway, now I’m hungry, so I get two pieces of raisin bread and pop them in the toaster. They pop back out all by themselves. I go to spread butter on the first but when I pick up the second piece a raisin sticks to my finger and burns a blister on it.

    Now I’m typing this stupid column with the ring finger on one hand and the index finger on the other one. So that’s the story, but don’t tell anyone because if everything works out, I might be able to get my friend Steve to finish cutting those stupid Himalayan blackberries for me.

    • Donald, sorry you were stung but glad you are alive to write your delightful column. Love the story and now having been to the creek with you and int hat truck of yours I can visualize everything you talked about.

      • Judy N

      • August 5, 2012 at 11:29 am
      • Reply

      What a terrible, no good, very bad day, but it reads like Huck Finn which I liked a lot. Hope your body is healing. Your mind seems more than ok.

      • Ralph

      • August 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm
      • Reply

      I am really concerned, as smart as you are, you are aware that nanobess were used to deliver a cell-killing toxin from bee venom to tumors in mice, substantially reducing tumor growth without harming normal body tissues. Do you think maybe the government is secretly using you for experimentation?

    • Ralph,
      Na, they’re talking about endothelial cells. Mine are all brain cells. 97% of my body consists of brain cells that are specifically for thinking. I’m thinking these bees are probably all from Africa except for a couple of token white bees. I can’t believe that 3 people actually read this. I must be getting really good at telling stories for that many people to pay attention. Do you mind if I call you “Number 3” from now on. I was going to give that number to my wife if she ever reads anything I write but I can’t wait forever, right?
      Thanks # 3. and 1 (Madgew) and 2 (Judy)as well

    • BEEware of the wildlife, Donald!

      • Brant R. Brumbeloe

      • August 6, 2012 at 9:03 am
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      I love to read your columns. But, sometimes I only read every tenth word.

      • Brant
        You mean you love to read every 10th word but sometimes you read the whole column. I think a lot of people say they read it but never do. That’s why I never win any awards or even get nominated unless I nominate myself which I do with a regularity. Thanks for your comments, see you soon, I hope.

      • Carolyn Wyler

      • August 6, 2012 at 9:36 pm
      • Reply

      This was a real Killer column Donald. You didn’t Drone on and on or bumble your way through it. Glad you’re still with us.

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