Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mud Pies

My usual dog hiking gear this Summer has been Capri shorts, Hawaiian shirts and sturdy walking sandals.  Easy, simple, no fuss and I've managed to stay marginally cool since the Gates of Hell opened in May.


The heat was already building by the time the boys and I got to the soccer field park this morning, though it was still very pleasant in the shade along the river.  About three-quarters of the way around the park, you have to skirt the edge of one large playing field to get from one sidewalk to the next.  The grass is brown here, there are a couple of wooden bleachers, and no shelter from the blazing sun.  Even the dogs don't linger as we cross the Badlands.

I was sort of daydreaming at this point, not paying much attention to anything other than getting to the sidewalk and lovely shade, when I happened to glance down just as I was about to step on a yellow jacket.  I tried to avoid it by dodging to the side, but apparently my kindness was misinterpreted as some kind of apian threat, because the frigging thing rose in the air, buzzed angrily around my foot, then deliberately--with extreme prejudice--dived into that oh-so-tender space between my big toe and the next...and stung me.  Twice!

I should have crushed the bugger when I had the chance.

For a split second, I wonder if I've imagined it, that the hornet didn't really just attack me.  But then the teeth clenching, OMG this hurts, I can't help jumping up and down, stinging pain pierced through my foot.  I hobble to one of the bleachers, fling off my sandal and vigorously rub the two welts rising between my toes.  And without sounding like a big ol' crybaby?  It hurt like a bitch.

I should have crushed the bugger when I had the chance.

I'm miles from home, my toes are twitching in painful spasms and I'm trying to figure out if I can get to the nearest pharmacy, or even the grocery store, when the sprinkler system turns on in front of me...

And suddenly, I'm nine.  Barefoot, I have just stepped on a bee.  My mother is watering the garden in the back yard.  I howl and hop as she walks over, and with the hose and some dirt, makes a mud pie sludge and tells me to stick my foot in it until the stinging stops.  And yeah, it worked.

Limping toward the outer reach of a sprinkler where the water is hitting the dirt, I make a muddy poultice and slap it between my toes.  At first I don't feel anything but ridiculous, but then...is the burn actually cooling, the sting fading a bit?  After a few minutes, I put my sandal back on--mud and all--and finished the walk.  By the time we got to the car, the stinging had completely stopped.

When we got home, I washed my foot, soaped all the dirt and debris off, and wow...no more welts, just two tiny red dots.  Whew.  I will live to see another day...

I should have crushed the bugger when I had the chance.


  1. I'm allergic to bee stings, or was when I was a child-I don't go out of my way to get stung to find out if this is still the case-and have had to use the mudpack cure when not in the immediate vicinity of medicines.

    1. Really? So my mother didn't make it up? Very cool...

      My BFF carries the Epi-pen thing in her truck. Last Summer she got stung, didn't realize the Epi had dried up, and nearly croaked on the way to the ER.