Growing Up Kansas - The Old Pick Up In The Field
Growing Up Kansas - An Old Pick Up in the Field
I grew up in Kansas. As you grow up you collect memories. This is one of them.
Summers were hot in Kansas when I was a kid. My cousins and I were out in the heat all day long. We played in the woods and rode our bikes all over town. We wore high top sneakers and overalls and didn’t even know it was a fashion statement. Our favorite place was grandmas.
She lived on a dead end street across the ditch from a cemetery. Across the street from her house was a huge vacant field. She had chickens in the yard, a dog, and didn’t watch us very closely. The ditch always had water in it along with a few abandoned cars. We had a rope swing that took you out over one of the cars. We could drop into the water or try to make it back to the top of the ditch. The cemetery was big and spooky but offered lots of hiding places. We made sling shots from tree breaches and old inner tubes and hunted birds and squirrels.
On the fourth of July the whole family would go to Grandma’s for dinner and fireworks. In the field across the street there was a dilapidated chicken coup on the side by the ditch and an abandoned pickup truck located in the middle of the field. The grass and weeds in the field were seldom cut. Don’t know who owned it but we knew every inch of that field.
I was the youngest of the three cousins. Whatever they decided to do, I did. I say this because it wasn’t my idea to get into that old pickup, it was their idea. The tires were flat and the springs were in the dirt. The body and bed had rust holes big enough for a fist. The windows were all up. It had been in the field as long as we could remember. We tried the passenger side first but it wouldn’t open. Dennis opened the driver’s door and held it. I got in first and scooted across the seat to the passenger side. Doug got in next and Dennis got to drive. Made sense, he was the oldest.
It wasn’t until Dennis slammed the door that we heard the buzzing sound. The nest was in the driver’s door. Dennis got stung first and when he tried to get the door open, it wouldn’t budge. By then Doug and I were getting stung. We were beating and slapping the wasps and Dennis was hitting the door with his hands and shoulder which only made the wasps madder. We were all stung a few times before the door flew open and we got out. The wasps followed.
At this point some of the adults noticed us, probably because we were screaming and running from that truck at Olympic speeds. Our arms were flailing trying to swat the wasps. From a distance, we looked pretty funny. Three kids running across a field screaming and flailing and not even going in the same direction had to look a little strange. Of course they couldn’t see the wasps. When we finally made it across the street, we were greeted by laughter and jokes that we didn’t think were too funny. We got some medical treatment from my aunt who was real stern with us except for the grin on her face. I think she put vinegar on the stings. Maybe that was why she was grinning.
When we were done with the treatment, someone got the idea to see who had the most stings. It became a contest. My dad and uncles helped us count. Dennis had the most with 12.
We went back over to the pickup about an hour later and kicked the door shut just to prove we weren’t scared. That pickup sat there for years but we never got in it again. One day someone cleaned up the field, the pickup was gone and so was the chicken coup.
By then Dennis had a 57 Chevy and we had a ride.