• The Box 69: FOREST GREEN

    Color: Forest Green
    April 11, 2009
    Song: "Waters of March" Nicole Henry

    Country Ghetto Rule #1: If Big Mama tell you to do some…or DON'T do something…you listen, damn it!

    Aight then…I was 10. My brother, Chris, 8. My cousin, Sandy 8. My sister La'Shawn, 4. We were at my great grandmother's house with my aunt Nellie. My great grandmother, Magnolia Harris, was my family's "Big Mama". Her husband Robert…"Big Daddy". Ok...so we're at Big Mama and Big Daddy's house…summer time…beautiful day. Big Mama's house didn't have running water. If you peed, you used a pot and if you pooped, you used the outhouse…and child…you know if I had to do a number two, I waited until we got home!! Greatest invention of the modern age: indoor plumbing. But I digress…

    The great thing about going to Big Mama's house was the country livin': feeding the animals (cows, chickens, horses, rabbits) and going to the spring to get the water for drinking, cooking, cleaning and bathing. Now spring water is the shit and to get it, you had to walk down this long path beyond the hen house and pig pen, down a long "Little House on the Prairie" type hill and The spring water at Big Mama's house was perfect and cold…straight out the mountain. I'm sayin'! But one summer, Big Daddy dug a well close to the house and was able to place a water pump closer to the house. Aw man…that killed us because the kids loved to go down to the spring to get the water for Big Mama. You know we were down there playin' in the water first but we always came back up the hill with our pails of water. Well, Big Daddy and that dang pump finished all that!

    We asked Big Mama if we could go down to the spring anyway, to play in the water. She said,
    "No. The path had grown over and there may be snakes in that grass! Big Daddy needs to cut the path down before ya'll go do there."
    We knew that wasn't happening. Big Daddy wouldn't need to cut the path as he had a brand new pump bringin' him water damn near to the door! Shoot! We went out and played in the backyard. Knowing we had the devil in us, Big Mama looked out and saw us inching towards the gate that led to the spring. She made us come sit on the front porch until Aunt Nellie was ready to leave. Oooh child, we were mad! Aw man…and I was the oldest…and the ring leader…so you know I had a plan! I whispered,
    "Let's try again."
    We were going to the spring! We tip-toed off the porch, slinked around the house and took off runnin' for the gate. Boy, we were runnin' like something was chasin' us!

    We were out of view from the house, we started down the long hill towards the spring…in this order: I was in front, then Chris, then Sandy, and then way up the hill was La'Shawn, pickin' flowers or something. We made it down to the spring. All of a sudden, I hear this screaming sound coming from up the hill. We turn around and my sister is barreling down the hill, running. Gravity was bringin' her ass down that hill. She tripped, fell and rolled the rest of the way down the hill. We ran up the hill to meet her halfway. She finally stopped out our feet. I grabbed her and got her to her feet only to discover YELLOW JACKETS clinging to her back. My sister had stepped on a yellow jacket hive! Aw child, our little hearts started racing because we could hear them but we couldn't see them! And they were coming! We were so far from the house…so far…but we had to run…and run through them! You see, these were the woods…the bushes…there was no trying to run around the bees…there was only one trail and that wasn't even a real trail anymore. Chris took off running first. He was the fastest and I remember thinking, "Please Lord, let Chris out run them bees!" He was gone…but they got him. They got us all.

    Chris was running. Sandy was behind him and I trailed in the back, dragging my sister by the arm. That child was heavy that day!! The bees felt like someone was beating us with lemon straw against our wet bodies, long stinging lashes, hot burning pricks. It was continuous and long lasting. I could only hear bees and Chris shouting as he ran, "Killah Beezzz…Killah Beezzz!" He made it to the top of the hill, disappeared over the ridge and sprinted for the house…steady screaming. Sandy also reached the top of the ridge and disappeared. Man, between the bees and my sister, I didn't think I was gonna make it to the top of the hill, much less the house. I finally reached the top of the hill.

    In the distance, I could see my aunt running from the house, pass Sandy and straight for us. She was yelling, "Let go of La'Shawn and run!" Thank Jesus my aunt was an athlete because I did...I let go and ran! La'Shawn made it back to her feet and was trying to run with me, screaming for me not to leave her. I was crying so hard hearing her like that, but Nellie was coming. I could see her. She was in the distance, but she was coming. La'Shawn was running as hard as her little legs could take her. Whoosh! Nellie ran by me and said keep running for the house. I looked over my shoulder and saw Nellie get to La'Shawn just as my sister was collapsing. She was exhausted. She was in shock. Nellie, with her hand, wiped a sheet of bees off La'Shawn. She scooped La'Shawn up and started running behind me. Big Mama attached a water hose to that damn pump! (To this day, I have mixed feelings about that pump!) As we came running towards her, she was yelling, "Stop running and take off your clothes." Chris ain't hear shit! He was running for the sake of running at this point. Big Mama had to run catch him to keep him from running in the house! He was still yellin' "Killah Beez…Killah Beezzz!!!" We were all stripping out of our clothes and running at the same time! As we all stripped, we realized, the bees weren't on our clothes, they were attached directly to our skin. Aw man…it was awful. We looked like the black Little Rascals! We were all standing in our underwear and socks, getting sprayed down by Big Mama. And you know she was preachin' us out…not yellin'…very quietly actually, "Didn't I tell ya'll not to go down to that spring…naw…but ya don't listen." This being said over the whimpers of her bad ass great grandkids.

    We rode home, none of us able to sit down fully. We each sittin' on half a butt check because the bees lit up the other half. We got home and we each were so miserable that all we could do was lay down on the floor in front of the box fan that was drafting cool air from the front screen door. Mama came home to find us all laid out and still whimpering. She asked what happened and my aunt explained. My mom, so completely disappointed in me, said, "I guess you don't need a butt whippin'. Bees took care of that." Man…that damn pump.


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