A once in a lifetime event has happened once again, and The Wife and I had front row seats.
Last week for our 21st wedding anniversary we were going to be ten rows back, center section, on the floor of the Mercedes Benz Stadium to see Mick and company. Outfitted with Rolling Stones shirts, hats and bags, we were all ready to go … right up to the point the concert was postponed due to the pandemic.
But no worries, The Stones survived the ’60s. What’s so tough about a little worldwide pandemic? So, with the concert in limbo, we had to make alternate plans to celebrate. Who knew it would include The Wife screaming as she came face to face with one of the Beetles! What else could you give someone who missed out on seeing The Rolling Stones?
The day got started by Big Papa here waking up our two Granddaughters, Little One and Sweet Caroline with a pillow fight. It was two against one. After a quick chase around the house, I finally gave up and got pummeled by every stuffed animal they owned. And in our house, that’s quite a lot. The two victors got dressed as I got breakfast on the table. The Wife came in the kitchen and asked what special thing were we going to do for our anniversary?
“Thought we’d go to the play park with the girls.” She smiled at my response. Perhaps not as big as if we were at The Stones concert, but it was a smile nonetheless. She kissed my cheek and went to get ready.
The night rain had left everything outside quite wet, so before we left, each of us grabbed a towel to wipe down the playground equipment. Even back on Flamingo Street, it wasn’t much fun going down a slide after a rainstorm. No matter how many layers of clothing you had on, you were soaked before even reaching the bottom. Then all the other kids made fun of you for “wetting” your pants.
Not wanting our girls to go through any such torment, we made sure all the slides were dry. Except, The Wife and I weren’t the ones who dried them.
Each girl climbed up to the top of a slide, sat on a triple-folded beach towel, then slid down, drying off the slide and giggling the entire way down. Little One scrambled and, outrunning her younger sister, made it to the last slide. I threw her a fresh towel just as she started climbing.
Sweet Caroline ran around to the bottom of the slide to greet her sister. Sitting on the towel, Little One pushed off and down she streaked. Unfortunately, the screaming started well before she reached the bottom. The first to scream was Sweet Caroline, then Little One, then me, and finally The Wife.
When Sweet Caroline had made her way around to the bottom of the slide, she noticed a large puddle of water. And in the water was an upside-down, three-inch-long black beetle outfitted with equally long feather antennas. To me it looked like it was doing the six-legged backstroke.
Screaming, Sweet Caroline waved her arms to warn her sister, but it was too late! Big sister was well on her way down the steep slide and about to meet the beetle. I also yelled for her to stop, but she couldn’t.
Seeing the monster in her path below, Little One tried, with arms and legs flaying, to reverse direction, but the slide was too wet. She kept sliding and screaming. I called out for Sweet Caroline to move, but she didn’t. Quickly I scooped and backhanded the giant beetle, flinging him out of the slide. Caroline jumped out of its way and right in the way of big sister as she came whooshing by, knocking all of us to the ground. All safe now, right? Nope. That’s when The Wife started to scream.
It seems my blind backhanded scoop of the giant beetle allowed the insect to spread its wings. The three-inch monster was a flyer. Yep, you guessed it — The Wife came face to face with the beetle.
After collecting the beleaguered insect, we released it on a nearby log then headed to the ice-cream store for a stress relief treat. The Wife said it was an anniversary she will never forget.
“Even though we couldn’t see The Rolling Stones, I’ll always remember the day I came face to face with a beetle – just not Paul or Ringo.”
[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog: storiesbyrick.wordpress.com.]