Favorite

Tell the bees 

Driving in to the office one day last week, we heard a report on NPR about beekeepers, those hearty souls who ride herd over the bugs that make the honey. A beehive is a great advertisement for cooperation and self-sacrifice, we think, with every one of the furry, heaving multitudes contributing, over the course of a lifetime, a few drops of liquid gold for the greater good before passing on with a bee-ly sigh.

It got The Observer thinking about dear old Dad, who had a few hives on the family stead, way out in the boondocks of Saline County. Dad was a doer, and when he did anything he did it all the way, so soon after he came home with his rattling pickup truck full of empty bee-boxes he'd picked up at an estate sale, he had to get the rest of the beekeeper's accoutrements: the white suit, the bellows-equipped tin smoker, the bee-keeper's helmet with fine mesh all about the face and elastic at the neck.

Every time we saw him in that getup, we couldn't help but think of astronauts tottering around on distant planets, the mesh keeping out those pesky Martian mosquitoes, as big and angry as Spitfires.

After he was gone — more than 10 years in the grave as we write this — The Observer learned that our father had been a Pentecostal preacher once in his youth.

He had settled into a much more peaceful understanding with the Universe by the time he took up the bees, but we suspect it was the ritual of beekeeping that appealed to our father's fallen-away heart: Smoke the bees to calm them. Crack the lid of the hive with a flat crowbar. Pry out the frames, breaking loose the hard wax. Lift the frames out, the capped and filled honeycombs translucent gold, amazing and impossible, sunlight seeping through each perfect chamber. Such architecture!

Though Intelligent Design has been ripped off and turned into a rallying cry by zealots these days (and a good scientist could probably explain to us those identical hexagons without the need for the Almighty with enough time and cussin'), The Observer learned to know God in our youth by looking at those tiny cells, each one designed and made — somehow — by an unimaginably smaller brain.

There can be no randomness to this, we thought then, only some Higher Order.

That first harvest, once the frames had been safely stolen away and spirited back to the barn by the mammals, a few determined bees clinging to our rattle trap International Scout for awhile before giving up and turning back, we remember Dad taking off his gloves, opening his Case knife, then plunging it into the raw honeycomb, the amber honey rising to meet the tip of the blade. He sawed out a rough, dripping square, and held it out to us.

That's how we remember him there: clad all in white, smiling at what he had made, holding out the dripping comb to a son who would one day stand in awe of him but not then. We remember how the anticipation of sweetness rose in our mouth — rose, rose, rose, as it still does as we write this.

Here's another thing we didn't learn until after he was gone: A good memory is much sweeter than the sweetest honey.

Surfing the Internet the other day, The Observer came across a website that's been clearly needed for far too long: www.devastatingexplosions.com.

It's exactly what it sounds like: a hand, hovering over a big red button like the one we imagined sitting on the president's desk back when we were a kid. Click the hand, and you're treated to a devastating explosion. That's all it does.

We don't know if it's a work of genius or a testament to the fact that some folks have too much time on their hands, but it sure does help blow off some steam after Christmas shopping.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Show and tell

    The Observer is an advocate of the A+ method of integrating the arts and using creativity to teach across the curriculum, an approach that the Thea Foundation, with help from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, is offering to schools across the state.
    • Feb 25, 2016
  • Yawp

    The Observer has been in a funk lately for a number of reasons: revulsions and slights, both foreign and domestic. We get that way most years as the winter drags on, once the tinsel and colored lights of Christmas drop into the rearview, soon after we come off the New Year's Day hangover.
    • Mar 24, 2016

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated itsĀ 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in The Observer

  • Dumb and smart, at the same time

    The Observer spent the week at a bar and thought a lot about a joke and its writer.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • -30-

    A newspaper died up in Atkins a few weeks back, not with a bang or a whimper, but with the sound of change jingling in a pocket, just too little of it to keep the printing presses rolling.
    • Jul 13, 2017
  • Does she know?

    Did Kim Walker-Smith, when recording "Throne Room" for her new record "On My Side," truly understand the power of her music? Does she now know that her song was the one that played on the radio as Michael Reed thumped into the Ten Commandments monument on the state Capitol grounds and brought it on down?
    • Jul 6, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation