Two days of constant rain. Bailed up, inside Oma and Opa’s place. The backyard is right there, but may as well be a hundred miles away. Two foreheads pressed against the glass, yearning for freedom. One at head height, the other round about knee. That’s when it happened…
The stupidest idea I’d ever had as a father.
We both saw it. A break in the weather. A crack in the clouds where golden rays of light spilled down taunting us like a beckoning finger.
Let’s do it.
Before you can even say “let’s do it”, he was already rapping on the window, shoes in hand, pleading with Mumma to let him out into the sun. “Okay,” she said, “but you should probably take Indy with you.” — Fine (sulk, sulk)…
Off we go. Two intrepid explorers venturing off into the wilderness. Indiana Jones would be proud. Father and son, off to conquer the elements and take on the surrounds like Bear Grylls in Man vs Wild.
Through the back gate and out into the back paddock. Trudging through knee-high grass, I turned to see Indy’s head bobbing just above the grass-line, grinning from ear to ear. The ground teeming with life. Bugs and insects foraging, building, reinforcing after the rains. Me and my boy, collecting rocks and jumping over puddles. A true Huck Finn moment.
We followed the track back toward home but took a detour when I spotted a fallen tree in the next paddock. Cool, let’s look for lizards. The grass was much shorter over here, like a sports oval, much easier for little legs to navigate. As we rounded the tree, I spotted a magpie in the branches. “Look Indy, gark-gark” (Indy-speak for ‘bird’) but when I turned to him, he was crouched down and focused on something else entirely…
A bloody huge ants nest!
Half-inch angry ants, up to his knees already, piling on and climbing over each other like it was a race to the summit. Holy sh#t!!
I picked him up and brushed his pants down like his crotch was on fire. In my arms he pulled his pants leg up and the ants were in his socks and up inside the legs. Holy, holy sh#t!! I flung his shoes like two hand grenades and whipped his pants right off. Jumping up and down, Indy pant-less under my arm, the other arm spinning his tiny duds like a windmill in a hurricane, I can only imagine how it looked. And across the road, outside her unit, stood a little old lady…staring right at us.
As frantic as I was, I saw that old lady and a gut wrenching blow hit my stomach as a horrendous thought punched my gut…‘Holy sh#t, I hope she doesn’t think I’m some kind of pedophile!’ And she could be forgiven for thinking that. A grown man in an empty paddock behind a fallen tree. A toddler in his arms with no pants on, jumping up and down whirling the kid’s pants around his head.
I fully expected her to run off inside and call the cops, but thankfully, she stayed watching us until we got clear of the ants, got his shoes and pants back on and was able to explain my actions.
The best part was, he didn’t get a single bite on him. Thank god. Those huge red ants burn like hell when they bite. Close call…phew!