AND BOYS, ITS A WONDER THEY HADN’T A’KILLED HER
S. Ever’ time she come up I had to take her to the spring, and it ‘uz, it ‘s a half a mile, it ‘s way further from here, I’ll take yuh to that spring sometime, uh, and show yuh where it was, an’ the spot an’ ever’thing. Uh, you know us kids, them days an’ times when we was kids a’growin’ up, we didn’t you know, we never had no such thing as good apples or anything like that now back there. . . . So there was a apple tree up on the hill where we used to live, after we, ….after I done’er thataway, we moved up there . They was ripe, these apples was. They just made . . . . I’d have to go set her up off ‘n the boat ever’ evenin’, she come, carried milk from our place. They lived just a mile from where we did. So I fixed this hyere. . .I took me a hammer and I took three or four of these apples and I buried them down in the roots of that spruce stump, yeah it ‘s just a little stump. Boy, there was a yaller jacket’s nest just same as a big bee swarm and you see I’d fooled with ’em but that one I had ’em ill by gosh now they’ll eat y’ up too. So, uh, our, uh . . my mother she said to me,she said Sherman you’ll have to go to the spring tonight, Zoni said I’m a’goin’ with you. I said, Well all right. I said, Zoni, I said, you know, I said went up got about half way up, I said I’ve got some of the dammedest purtiest apples hid up hyer’ under a stump, I said I hid ’em up there t’ get meller.
D. to get what?
S. to get meller, you know, the way apples . . .I said by George I said, We’ll jes’ take them damn things out. . . All right she said, she kindly talked funny, she was good lookin’. I looked over there and had that hammer settin’ over there y’ know. I jus’, hit ‘s late y’ see, and they’d all went in y’know, they wasn’t a’flyin’ out, it was about this time y’see, when she . . . I just picked up that hammer, she said “wha’d y’put that hammer up hyer’?” I said that ‘s the hammer I had up hyere I said to drive a wedge and get the wood up hyer’, I said, peckin’ on the stump with the end of it come down, and she never noticed them things see she was a ‘lookin’ at me, . . .never noticed them things till I be dammed if she wasn’t just plumb yaller. And I broke. I said Hell’s fire, look at the bees. And I had to run, well, as far as from here to the bank, big laurel over there. There was a spruce tree stood there and I just. . .they was a ‘flyin’ plenty of ’em around me and I cut one of them limbs y’ know ‘n’ keepin’ them yaller jackets off of me. And boys, it’s a wonder they hadn’t a’killed her, I’ll be dammed. We went on to the spring ‘n’ got the water after she got, knocked, knocked off of it. She told me a’ comin’ back down, said, “I don’t b’lieve I’ll ever,” said, “I b’lieve you t’ought t’em, t’em yaller jackets was in that stump.” “Why,” I said, “why, I hope I may die Zoni, if I ever thought such a thing as that,” I said, “now you know damn well that I wouldn’t get you in a place like that, but,” I said, “that’s one thing sure.”
Getting someone in a yellow jackets nest was generally seen as great fun. Yellow jackets often lived in the ground and were always ready to storm out in full force. Sherman had created a diversion of ‘the dammedest purtiest apples’ but he had also stirred up the bees and ‘had ‘em ill, by gosh now they’ll eat y’up too’. Years ago, I knew an older man who lived here locally by the name of Dutch. Dutch, who would have been born in the 1920s, said: “Us boys would find a yallar jacket nest. What we would do then was to each find a heavy stick and gather around the hole. Then we would all start beatin on the ground. The one that stayed the longest, won.” ￼