Some years ago, in this blog, I mentioned that Lenny partly got me into fly fishing by supplying me my very first fly (a Tied Down Caddis). Yes, Lenny helped prime the pump in my early years with the flies and my Dad bought me a J.C. Higgins (Ted Williams addition) fly/spin combo rod/reel at Sears & Roebuck. That I do owe Lenny for.
But, the images of the old garage and the old archway reminded me of another reason I use to owe Lenny. The garage and the archway were once covered with ivy. One day walking home from school, Lenny being far more observant than me, noted two yellow jacket nests, one in each growth of ivy at the top of the aforementioned structures. Lenny, the ever adventurous ‘friend’ walked over to the garage and picked up a stick and commenced to jabbing at the nest. I stood across the street dumb struck by his crazy courage. He turned and walked up to the archway and jabbed at the nest there.
Lenny unleashed a mighty storm of yellow jackets that were not the least bit interested in him, but rather made a ‘bee line’ en masse across the street and commenced to attacking me. Off I ran screaming, yelling, crying, frothing toward home which was a good hundred yards up the street. All along the way, I was continually stung and Lenny, bringing up the rear, was not.
My Mom and a neighbor lady arrived and with garden hose hosed me down and eventually freed me of the yellow jackets and my clothing. Pain, shock, humiliation and a huge dose of anger for Lenny were my conditions. I swelled up, I was miserable and I wanted Lenny to pay. In the end, his life’s decisions caught up with him and he paid in many unfortunate ways.
I owe Lenny for the fly fishing and I guess I don’t feel the need to owe him for the yellow jackets. The stings came first and the outdoor pursuits came later. Later Lenny often ran afoul of his parents, school authorities and later the law. But, I always think of Lenny first and foremost about fly fishing and today it was more the yellow jackets.