The tubby little honeybees were hopping from each little flower with a faint buzz. We watched them as we sat in the area of clover. They gathered bits of yellow pollen from each, popped up in a whir of wings and settled on the next to repeat the yellow gathering. Their tiny legs were enormous with the golden dust packed around them. Lots of them floated around our heads in the journey from flower to flower. We stayed clear of them while sat in the clover patch. The grass was rich and green like a cool soft carpet. The clover rose in a pattern throughout the green blades in need of mowing.
The morning sunlight filled the air with warmth. A breeze wafted softly around us as our thoughts filled with 4 leaf clovers. Jan and Jill were sitting in the grass with me as I began to look very closely at the layers of cloverleaves.
"Here's one!" shouted Jill pulling it up with a snap.
"The first one. You are lucky," I said. My eyes went back to the patch.
"Oh look! I've got one!" it was Jan who said it. "Keep looking Rickey. There's lots in here."
Once more I brushed my hand through the clovers stopping occasionally to hold one closer. Nope. Only three leaves.
"Hey! Another one!"
I was beginning to think there was nothing in my area.
"Wow. Look at this! Two together."
"I found 3!"
"Wait a minute. Are you sure they're 4 leaf clovers?" I asked. Four chubby hands zoomed under my eyes.
"Yes. We are," they said in unison.
"Keep looking. You'll find one."
Again I began to fan out the blades of grass and the tender clovers. Nothing.
"Oooh, look what I found!" Jan said excitedly. "Here Rickey smell this pretty flower." She poked it under my nose. I breathed in deeply but there was no aroma. They both broke out in loud laughter.
"It's a wet-the-bed flower! You're gonna wet the bed tonight!" They burst into a cackling laughter.
"Oh, am not," I said rubbing my nose. Off came a yellowish powder onto my hand. I ignored them and began looking again. At the very edge of the patch I thought...yes...there it is. As I reached for it I felt a hot pain from my ankle.
"OWWWW!" I yelled.
Jan and Jill jumped up.
"What is it," They asked.
"I don't know. All of a sudden...." It happened again. Both ankles exploded in pain along with my knees and calves.
"YEOWWW!!!" The sound burst from my lungs as someone was sticking me with a white-hot poker. But there wasn't anyone near me. I began to hop around beating at my legs and feet. The pin pricks of fire continued to send pain from everywhere on my legs.
"Hold still!" It was Jan and Jill's mother. "Hold still boy! You were in a fire ant bed. You need to get these clothes off!"
"NO! Let go of me!" I shouted and screamed and danced around the yard slapping various parts of my body. The bites were getting higher and higher until...
"YEOWWW! YIKES! OWIE! OWIE! HELP! I'M ON FIRE!" "Grab that child!" The twins’ mother shouted. Tommy came running from the house. He grabbed for me. I jumped with another howl and slap.
"Take those clothes off! We can see where the ants are!" Tommy made another grab I danced the ants in my pants dance away from him. His mother made a grab but again I was nowhere near her grasp. The twins joined in the chase.
"NO!" I yelled in between screams of pain. "I'm not taking my clothes off in front of all of you!"
Then came the bite of the hour. That army of ants attacked my privates. My scream almost shattered windows. I've never jumped that high since. I swear I saw the roof of their house at eye level. Everyone was trying to catch me but I hopped and skipped and scooted in all directions. The second bite of the century sent me aloft again. Tears and screams were pouring from me. Finally blind intuition took over and I was hopping and screaming and running and pulling at ants I couldn't see. It must have been a sight me jumping in all directions with a family behind me shouting, "Take your clothes off!" all the way to my grandmother's house. In through the front door wailing all the way I ran to the bathroom and started ripping clothes off. Behind me my grandmother kept asking what was wrong. I tried to tell her through streaming tears. She took one look at the filed of welts on my legs and turned on the bath water. With all my clothes off in a familiar bathroom I could see the red ants that were left crawling on my legs and ... well, anyway, I climbed into the tub and slowly began to stop whimpering as my grandmother told me, "Oh hush child. You'll soon be better before you're twice married. It'll be alright you wait and see." She was right as always. I had oh so many welts covering my body from foot to belly button. I didn't go to the twins for several days. I never did get that one 4-leaf clover I saw. Guess it wasn't my lucky day.