Oh, Honey! or The Silhouette Behind the Blind


Nectar from the gods, honey’s truly special qualities are not for everyone. My kids don’t eat honey. I like it best on hot biscuits, but, if I really crave honey I crave it as a kind of tonic. I’ll savor down a spoonful like a Mary Poppins elixir.

Honey is a fascinating miracle of nature. Bees and various types of pollen work their harmonious blend to produce this marvelous stuff. I’m especially fond of orange blossom honey with its distinctly different tang than the clover variety of our Ohio/Pennsylvania area. I brought some back from our recent trip to Florida.

The honey flavor I favor best is a type I tasted when we vacationed at Blackwater Falls State Park when I was a kid. It was sarvis honey made on “Walker’s Knob” in Davis, West Virgina, and that’s where I tasted the dark, almost gray tinged variety that, I found, had a bitter taste. We brought some home and, I remember, it lasted on our shelf a long time. The bees take what they can get. In this case, sarvis berry blossoms were plentiful.

It’s amazing to me how a tiny bee can demand my respect and fill me with awe. I joined ranks with the few who don’t swat at bees at a young age.

My memories of my great-grandpa, Van Morris, are vague since I was a very young girl who watched him at the beehives in the apple orchard at the farm where I grew up. The way he was oddly shrouded could easily have scared a child, but that was what struck me. The white trays that stacked and slid into the white boxed beehive impressed me. I wanted to touch them.

My Dad has taught me the most about calm respect for bees and wasps simply from his example. All my life I’ve watched him allow an unwanted, buzzing guest to alight on his fingertip so he could take it outdoors.

Of course, nothing pleases him more than to see his kids do the same.

He seemed proud of me when I accounted to him my experience in a Bureau of Motor Vehicles office in recent years. A small group of us waited for our turn with a clerk; I was there to renew my driver’s license.

An intense buzzing came from under the office window blind and the silhouette behind it was some sort of bee or wasp. The man beside me sat forward and, as the buzzing continued, he looked more uncomfortable. This insect would unpredictably zoom from under the blind, make a pass around the room leaving everyone on edge with his presence and return to the window glass under the blind seeking an escape to fresh air.

I let this go twice, until the fellow beside me squirmed and ducked so that I got on my knees on my chair, looked for the shadow on the mini-blind, pried open the slats, and stuck my finger through toward, as it turned out, a yellow jacket. It crept onto my finger and I slowly pulled it through, carried it to the door and freedom, then returned to my seat. I felt the stares from around the room as I tried to be nonchalant – I do this every day.

Well, no, but it is a common occurance at our house for “Mom” to carry live insects (spiders, too) outside rather than kill them. My family is used to my way with bugs. It’s always great when there is someone new who can appreciate it.

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