Sometime in the late spring of 1941, my cousin Sellers, my Uncle Forrest Hall's oldest son, and Bobby Orr, the oldest son of Bill Joe and Ester Bell Orr, were walking along Red Hill Road just about where it used to curve to the left in front of Refuge Church and connected to Martin Dam Road.
It was still a dirt road at that time. There was a wooded area on the east side of the road, across from the church. On the opposite side of the road Mr. Milton Griffith had a home that still stands today, about where Martin Dam Road joins Red Hill Road.
Between Mr. Milton’s house and the road, he had a really nice garden going that year with a really great crop of pole beans, ready for the picking and hanging on the elaborate vine runner racks he had constructed for them. Bobby notices hornets have built a really huge, oval-shaped, gray paper-mache nest on a low hanging limb of a hickory tree in the wooded area across the road from the church and Mr. Milton's garden.
Bobby tells Sellers there is no way he can throw a rock so accurately as to knock that nest off the limb with a single throw. So Sellers decides to take up the challenge and begins to search for just the right rock, and in Red Hill there were plenty of rocks to choose from. When Bobby realizes Sellers just might luck up and hit the thing on his first throw, he begins to put some distance between himself and Sellers.
And sure enough, the first rock finds its mark — thunk, right into the top area of the nest, penetrating right through the nest and severing its attachment to the tree limb. Bobby is now running to put more distance between himself and Sellers, because he knows what is about to happen.
The hornets come pouring out of the nest and immediately spot their antagonist. And Sellers is just about to pick up on what is coming and begins his retreat, but too late. The hornets descend upon him with a vengeance. He is running toward Mr. Milton's garden and has just gotten to the edge of it near the pole beans when the hornets catch up with him and begin exacting retribution on him.
If you have ever suffered a hornet sting, you know that one can ruin your day. Several are a disaster! Sellers hits the ground of the garden right at the beginning of the pole bean row. He begins rolling through the pole beans, destroying the bean racks and screaming in agony.
When the hornets finally fly away from Sellers, Mr. Milton's pole bean crop and the poles are on the ground, and Sellers face and arms are swelling in a dozen places.
Bobby is doubled over in laughter. Mr. Milton arrives on the scene, takes a look at his pole bean devastation and thinks Sellers may have had some kind of seizure or an epileptic fit before Bobby tells him what has happened. Sellers learned never to take a dare from Bobby Orr.
Ray Hall is a Red Hill resident and columnist for The Tribune.