Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bee Boxes

My grandfather, my beloved Papa, kept honey bees in a few bee boxes in his and Grandma's yard. I wasn't as interested in all of that while my grandparents were alive as I am now, and I wish I had been: I want to keep bees someday too, and while I will learn the how-to when I need to, I wish I had the memories of having learned all about beekeeping firsthand from Papa. I would watch the bees from a safe distance as some exited the boxes and others flew toward them, and I was fascinated by the design of the honeycombs Papa would bring into the kitchen--the honeycombs are edible, although my parents still wince when they tell the tale of the time Papa bit into a honeycomb and ended up swallowing a live bee--but I didn't pay attention to the actual honey-gathering. While helping my parents clear out my grandparents' house in 2001, we came across an old instructional booklet on beekeeping, and I was shocked to realize that Papa hadn't always known how to do this either--that he too had been interested and had had to learn from others. There is comfort in that knowledge for me.

My very last visit to my grandparents' house about a month after they had died, I waffled for an hour over whether to disassemble the bee boxes and pack them into the car to take with me, but I ultimately decided to leave them behind. I didn't want the bee boxes unless I could also have the sloped part of the yard they had always sat on, near where my childhood Beagle was gently buried by Papa, across from the raspberry bushes and tomato plants and flower gardens, feet away from Papa's thinking tree. . . . I didn't want to keep the bee boxes unless I could also keep Papa and Grandma's yard and house and Papa and Grandma always inside. I sometimes think I should have taken the bee boxes after all, though, and just lived with the heartache of their missed surroundings. I don't know.

Papa and Grandma and their bee boxes and their jars of fresh honey are all on my mind tonight as I keep adding store-bought honey to hot tea as I battle a cold, and also because I had a sad dream about my grandparents last night. I have dreamed of them only a handful of times since they died in the spring of 2001, and most of those dreams have been nightmares like last night's. I miss Papa and Grandma so much, and part of me will never believe that if I knocked on their door right now, they wouldn't open it and welcome me inside. Ah, Life. I am so blessed just to have had a "Papa and Grandma" at all, and I will someday have another happy dream of them, and I believe there will eventually be a reunion. Papa and Grandma missed people they had loved, as well, there are still bees out there traveling back and forth from boxes to flower gardens, and life goes on. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Today was my day off for the week, and it was wonderful. I walked to work with Mike, then went for my first run in five years afterward.  The weather was as beautiful as spring weather gets, Daffodils could be spotted in seemingly every yard, and I made supper--stuffed manicotti, artichoke bread, and salads--and walked it across town so Mike and I could eat supper outside after he got off work.  'Forty-pounds-lost now, according to the scale this morning too.  'Sweet, sweet day.