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“Let’s the follow the deer trail,” my father suggested, always ready to introduce his family to new adventures.  We walked along single file, one brother in the lead, followed by my other brother, myself, my mother and my father at the end.

Screams suddenly pierced the quiet, grassy woods, emanating from my young brother in the lead.  My second brother began screaming as well, batting his head and running around in circles.  I stopped to see what was going on, and my eyes grew large at the sight of several rather large, thick bees furiously flying around my poor brothers’ heads. 

My father, annoyed, asked, “What’s wrong with everyone?” 

My mother angrily replied, “Eric stepped onto a bee’s nest.  They’re all getting stung!” 

My father didn’t get stung and, thankfully, neither did I.  It scared the hell out of me, though.

To this day, my brothers and I will exchange serio-comic looks when we go hiking.  “Beware of deer trails …”

But, we had learned a valuable lesson that day – watch where you’re walking.

I went on a hike this past weekend up to Zim Zim Falls in Napa County.  I was looking up at the falls, and not where I was walking – down a steep hill, with slippery, flattened grasses.  Visually, I must’ve looked like I had slipped on a banana peel the way my foot easily slid out from under me and my leg flew up in the air.  I now have a large gash (with a somewhat flair to it) on my leg outlined with a greenish-grayish-purplish tint.

If it had been a deer trail, I would’ve paid more attention.
Do you have any family hiking memories? 

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One Easter Eve, when I was about four years old, Fred Astaire and Judy Garland sang “Easter Parade” on TV, while my Mom and I dyed eggs.  I couldn’t wait for the candy-filled Easter basket I knew awaited my discovery the following day.

Much to my joyful surprise, a tiny, chirping chick greeted me when I woke up.  This cute fluffy little thing fascinated me and I spent hours talking with it.  Yes, “with”;  I swear it spoke back. And, then, it grew up …


…  into an aggressive, vicious, Stephen King-ish, psycho rooster, that chased everyone across the yard, and pecked them in the legs.

Engaging psychological warfare, it would lull you into a false sense of security, by watching you quietly from a shadowy back corner.  Then, just when you thought it was safe, it would rise up with a fury of a tornado –  feathers flapping and squawking maniacally – and fly at you until you ran screaming into the house.  There has never been a sprint runner in the history of mankind who has matched the speed with which I flew up the two steps, flung open and slammed shut the screen door, rushing into the sanctity of the no fowl house zone, where my breathing and beating heart could slow down to a healthy rate. 

One day, it was gone.  My father told me that a neighbor, tired of the crowing first thing every morning, had shot it.  Years later, however, he confessed that he had become so tired of being terrorized in his own backyard, that he borrowed an ax from a neighbor and cut the rooster’s head off. 

And, they lived happily ever after.

Did you receive a chick or bunny when you were a child?

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