Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Kum Ba Ya--Part 1

Wilbur Hucks here. This week I'm going to tell you about the time I faced a pack of the deadliest critters in all creation. Now, I've been snake bit, treed by a bull elk, and chased out of my own house by a hungry bear, but let me tell ya, hell hath no fury like that of a pack of nine-year-old girls out for blood.

It was Memorial Day weekend, 1969, and O' Pete Zellesky managed to break both his legs in a car accident. Pete was caretaker at Camp Paradise, on the far side of Kanner Lake. Girl scouts were coming from all over the Northwest, and he asked me to give him a hand.

"Just drive over to Spokane," he said, "and pick up the supplies. When you get back, all you have to do is baby-sit. If a light bulb burns out, put in a new one. That's all there is to it. Oh yeah, they are mighty timid about spiders, and the leaders are worse than the girls. You might get called on to kill one or two."

I drove to Spokane, picked up the supplies and then dropped by the five-and-dime store. I walked back out with two bags of plastic spiders in assorted sizes. I was feeling mighty pleased with myself until I saw a sign in the pet store window across the street: "Half off on all tarantulas." Suddenly, those plastic spiders lost their magic. I just had to go into the store.

There must have been a hundred of those big, wooly beasts crawling around inside a large aquarium. Even at half price, five bucks seemed steep for a spider. That's when I saw one in a tank all by himself, or I should say, herself? This one had a sign that read "Goliath Tarantula--$25" and she was big enough to wear as a hat. It was the best $12.50 I ever spent.

On registration day, girl scouts descended on the campgrounds like locusts. They arrived in station wagons, vans and buses. They all stood around singing "Kum Ba Yah." It was enough to make a man want to pull his hair out.

That's when I noticed a girl standing off to one side, crying her eyes out. The other girls from her group were busy taunting her, and their leader just stood by doing nothing. Before I knew it, my legs carried me across the campgrounds to where she stood. She had pasty white skin, oily brown hair and a pair of horn-rimmed glasses so thick she could see the man-on-the-moon.

"Bucky, bucky, bucky, sucking on her thumb," the other girls chanted. Their leader, a too-narrow-between-the-eyes, snooty-faced woman looked on with dancing eyes. Her thin lips curled into the cruelest smile I ever seen. What on earth was wrong with that woman?

I stopped in front of the girl and offered her my hanky. She just stared at it.

"Don't worry; it's fresh from the laundry," I said.

She inspected it warily and then blew her nose on it again and again. "Thank you, sir," she whimpered, and handed it back to me.

"You keep it. My name's Wilbur, what's yours?"

She pretended to smile. "Becky, but they call me Bucky because I got crooked teeth. I-I used to suck my thumb."

"Calling you names, now are they?" I winked at her. "Tell you what. How would you like to get even?"

Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM
Wilbur, I’ll be back tomorrow for part two. I can’t wait!
Posted by Anonymous Buddy Badwartski : 11:56 PM
just what are you up too Wilbur, can't wait to find out :)
Posted by Blogger jel : 5:01 AM
lol. Wilbur, you rascal. I can't wait to read more.
Posted by Blogger Rulan : 10:17 AM
Wilbur, I can't decide if you're the most ornery person I have ever "met," or one of the most kindhearted. Quite the conundrum you are.
Posted by Anonymous elizabeth monty : 8:47 PM
A con-whatza?

Can't tell whether I've just been insulted or not.
Posted by Anonymous wilbur : 8:48 PM
Well, actually he's both. Trouble is, on any given day--make that any given minute--you don't know which one you're going to get.
Posted by Blogger Sarah Wray : 8:49 PM
He's ornery. ALL the time.

If you don't believe me--just try drinking coffee in the same building with him.
Posted by Anonymous carla radling : 8:50 PM
Who cares what Wilbur is? What I want to know is--where can I get one of those huge tarantulas?

Oh, the plans...
Posted by Anonymous larry cellaway : 8:51 PM
Okay. Bring on part 2. I'll reserve my opinion until the fat lady sings, so to speak.
Posted by Anonymous leslie brymes : 8:53 PM
Come on Wilbur, isn’t that quite a stretch?

Do you really expect us to believe that those little girls behaved themselves the next day?
Posted by Blogger The Curmudgeon's Rant : 11:07 PM
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