Let me start by issuing a warning: if you ever see a hole in the ground, don’t stick your foot in to see how deep it is. Just don’t.
It started off well–a family birthday party at my mother’s house. My little niece wanted me to take her out into the back yard, which I was happy to do. She immediately took off running, at which point I was warned by several people to watch out because there are some strange holes in the yard that might cause her to fall.
Just then I happened upon one of said holes. We have some holes in our backyard as well, left over (I assume) from a play structure belonging to the last people who lived here (who had even more kids than we do!). I once had an unpleasant encounter with one of those holes while mowing the grass, so I was wondering how deep and dangerous this particular one was, and I stuck my toe in it to check.
The next thing I know I felt a sharp pain in my calf and registered that I’d been stung. Before I could even confirm this through visual evidence I felt another sting on my hand. This time I saw the yellow jacket and moved away. Of course I yelled, and Emily and my little niece came over to see the boo-boo. I was in the middle of assuring them that although it hurt I was okay, when Emily said. “There are more on you.”
At this point we enter into Reader’s Digest “Drama in Real Life” territory, as I order Emily–the only adult in the yard at the time–to get them off me right now, while she is backing away (sensibly) to protect the baby. I believe I got (a little) hysterical, drawing an audience in the screened porch above. My mother may have advised me to quiet down and I advised her in return with restraint (meaning no profanity) that I was unable to comply being covered in stinging insects.
Somehow William came to the rescue and apparently whacked them off of me, killing several. (I say apparently because I was kind of yelling and crying–not because I was being stung but because I was scared–and I don’t remember much.) He told me afterwards that there were many of them on my pants and shirt and a few on my neck and in my hair. It’s actually pretty amazing that none of them stung me the way I was carrying on at the time.
Of course I wanted nothing more than to run inside and escape them but we couldn’t risk my taking them into the house with me. My mother came out and got off the last few. She is one of those people who keeps a cool head in a crisis. Even so, I brought one live one and one dead one inside.
My little sister made me baking soda paste to anoint the stings (which didn’t help much, contrary to my experience with regular bee and wasp stings). My sweet little niece was extremely concerned about my boo-boos for the rest of the afternoon. For most everyone else, the terrifying event was quickly reduced to “Well, thank God YOU got stung and not the baby!” with a side of “What is that white powder all over the floor?”
As for me, I was still in considerable pain hours later, luckily, thanks to William, from only two stings! And as for the yellow jackets, they were treated to a bottle full of soapy water, which is supposed to do away with them, but I have a feeling no one is going to be playing in my mother’s back yard for a while!