Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What It's Like Living So Close to Colonial Williamsburg

We live really close to Colonial Williamsburg.  Close enough that it's no big thing to see men and women in colonial-era garb in line next to you at Trader Joe's.  The dad of one of Miss M's preschool-mates wears an apron, knee breeches, and tights when he drops off his kid.  (A blacksmith, I presume.)  Sometimes I take the kids out walking on Duke of Gloucester Street, the main thoroughfare in Colonial Williamsburg.  Yesterday, we did one better and had a "picnic" there.

I had wanted to take the kids to the library, which is around the corner from the colonial area, but we had gotten a really late start and would be out during lunchtime.  So, I packed us some food to eat while we were out, and told Miss M we were going to have a picnic.  She liked that idea.  We went to the library, got our books, and then drove around in search of a place to park at Colonial Williamsburg.  We circled the lot two or three times before finding a spot because it was unusually crowded.  (Or maybe "usually" crowded.  I had forgotten that yesterday was Columbus day, so although the high tourist season is over, perhaps a lot of people were taking advantage of a day off.)

We finally found a spot, and pushing the baby's stroller while holding Miss M's hand, I led us to a bench on Duke of Gloucester Street.  We sat down to eat, and as people walked by, Miss M greeted everyone:  "Hi!  We're having a picnic!"  She said this to anyone who looked her way.  One lady responded, "And it's just the perfect day for a picnic, isn't it?"

Yes, and a yellow jacket thought so, too.

It planted itself on the baby's bib and began lapping up the pureed apple-and-cherry mixture that was smeared there.  I have to stop here to tell you that I'm terrified of bees, wasps, hornets, anything that stings, probably because I've never been stung.  I have given birth twice without epidurals, but I have an overwhelming fear of what the pain of a bee sting might feel like.

So, when I saw that yellow jacket on that bib, so close to my baby boy's (oblivious) face, it was like the wasp was magnified and all the bustle of Colonial Williamsburg was in slow motion.  The baby smiled at me, which made the situation feel somewhat like a horror movie, what with that large insect sitting right there on his bib.  I could count all of its stripes!  (Not really.)  I attempted to swat the wasp away without provoking it to sting any of us.  Miss M yelled about the "bug" and hopped around a little.  I told her to step back, that it was going to be okay, and I swatted at it again.  Swatted a little.  Took a step back.  Repeat.  When the wasp finally hovered high enough (while still diving at my head), I snatched off the baby's bib and tossed it onto the bench where we had been sitting.  I wiped the baby's face to remove all traces of the fruit mash, and then I watched and waited.

The yellow jacket landed on the bib and resumed its meal.  While it snacked and the baby smiled at me and Miss M tap-danced on nearby steps, I contemplated leaving the bib behind and making our escape.  But I couldn't bring myself to defile Colonial Williamsburg with a dirty bib.  (Maybe if it hadn't been so crowded...)  So, once the wasp began hovering again (and diving at us), I snatched up the bib, slammed it into a lidded compartment in the stroller, and proceeded to run over Miss M with the front wheels as I tried to make our getaway.  She lost her shoe.  I had to stop, kneel down, and put it back on her foot while the yellow jacket flew at my back.  I saw it at least once in my periphery.

I tried to look normal as we crossed the street to the William & Mary bookstore, all the while imagining the yellow jacket following us into the store and assaulting us in the restroom.  I wondered if anybody would help us or would they just watch us screaming and getting stung repeatedly, a mother and her two helpless children.

It did not follow us, but there was screaming in the bathroom, as Miss M opened the door of my stall three times while I was in there.

Well, maybe not screaming, just a stern talking-to.


Dina said...

Forgive me for chuckling a little bit. (This was funny, I'm sorry...) I used to feel the same way but urban farming/gardening is making me more brave than I can explain. Usually, (not always), but more often than not, they will not sting unless they feel threatened. But that being said, I totally get it, especially around the little ones.

robyn L. said...

Totally okay to chuckle. ;)

Faye said...

Haha! This could have easily been me and my boys. We have to make a visit to Williamsburg and have a picnic with you guys (minus the yellow jackets).