Aunt Ruthie’s 1945 Diary tells stories of her daily life,
but it also holds clippings of other things, like a bee swarm . . .
Cartoonists of this era tried to cram lots of action into one scene. Here’s a detail:
Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson and other authors extolled the virtues of even one bee:
A Bee scene snuck into my memoir in Chapter 9, “Playing Wedding at Grandma’s House.” Before it was fashionable, my father Ray knew how important bees are to the environment.
When Mom said “Sca-doo,” my sisters and I knew we could chase fun down at Grandma’s house, the other generation of Longeneckers connected to ours with strong family ties. Two vegetable gardens skirted her home, one edged with two beehives, which Daddy kept. Lodged in my memory is an image of him with his white protective hood moving gingerly around the hives. Is there such a thing as a bee gentler, a bee whisperer? If so, my father played the role to a tee. Before he “smoked” the colony with a horn-shaped apparatus to quiet the bees, the Queen and her attendants buzzed and darted in the June sun. They were contained now, though, their white hive emitting a low hum. I watched my dad proceed with slow, respectful movements, taming the wildness inside the hive.
Six years ago, the year I started blogging,
I extracted honey from Sue Monk Kidd’s novel the Secret Life of Bees including 7 practical tips. Most of you haven’t seen this post simply because we weren’t friends back then. Maybe, like the author’s Lily Owens, at one time the jar of your life opened and you flew out into a different orbit!
Whatever stage of life you’re in now, being kind is always in vogue as the poet suggests here:
My son/daughter, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste. ~ Proverbs 24:13
* Like my Aunt Ruthie, do you keep clippings in books or notebooks?
* Can you add another quote about bees?
* Share some facts or comments about bees?
* At one point in your life, did the jar of your life open (like Lily’s in The Secret Life of Bees) inviting you into a different orbit?
What a beautiful way to start the day, being reminded of how good and kind most people still are, and the sweet examples Laméris lists. I’ve not read this before, thanks for sharing. It reminds me of Anne Frank’s quote from the Hitler years and in spite of her suffering and eventual death at the hands of that monstrous evil, she could write in her diary: “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
Like your aunt, we can be glad Anne kept her diary, and that you have kept a blog and keep nudging us towards goodness and kindness.
You are up early, a retired early-riser, Melodie.
I’m glad you enjoyed the post, including the Lameris poem, which I heard Garrison Keillor read on The Writer’s Almanac last week. Thanks for including the Anne Frank line here, an awesome thought.
Lovely post, Marian and a great reminder that being kind doesn’t cost us anything…we just have to “bee.” The Secret Life of Bees is one of my favorite books. I loved the movie, too. “You’re the bees knees” always made me laugh. I’m not sure who said this, but a quote I try to keep in mind is, “Words are like bees – some create honey and others leave a sting.”
Thanks for your thoughts here, Jill. Another one about words that I think about almost every day: “People won’t remember exactly what you say, but you’ll always remember how they made you feel.” ~ Maya Angelou.
I too like “You’re the bees knees,” mostly because it sounds cool to say it, not because I think it makes any sense, though it is usually mentioned as a compliment. 🙂
Always lifts me up to read your passages, Marian! Thank you!
I know your here every week, even though I don’t always “see” you. Thanks for posting today, Jack!
Good post, Marian. I love honey! 🙂 Your thoughts about being kind go with the show we saw last night–Come From Away–about the town in Newfoundland that took in all those flights and people after the attacks on 9/11.
I know you like honey and probably use it in recipes besides the ones for Seder or other holidays.
Thanks for mentioning this show, which sounds like a documentary. I’d like to watch it too. TV? Netflix?
Come from Away is a musical (Best direction for a musical in 2017 Tony Awards.) We just saw the Broadway touring production of it Tuesday night.
Congratulations on your blogoversary, Marian! Here is a bee quote: “The bee is domesticated but not tamed.”
William Longgood (a beekeeper). It reminds me of what was said of Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
I used to keep cartoon clipouts in my journal. These days, I might photograph them and put them on my hard drive journal. 😀
L. Marie, that’s what we do, make things we value digital.
By the way, I loved your post today with an ice cream giveaway. How clever you are!
Thank you, Marian. You know how I come up with those topics? Prayer. God always has ideas. 😀
I have clipped scores of cartoons, many of which were posted on my office door when I was a professor at Goshen College.
I put most of them into a file folder that have been contributed to the archives of the Mennonite Historical Library at Eastern Mennonite University.
Eventually, my journals will join the clippings. I wonder what will happen to our blogs after we are gone? Have you thought of that one, Marian?
Yes, I have, and I’m not sure of the answer: Maybe archive our blogs in the “Cloud” or on a device that’s not been invented yet. We don’t want All That Work going away in a “Poof,” now do we!
Maybe our web guys can help us solve dilemma.
Marian, we are just returning from a road trip to Ontario (three days of driving) and as I was reading your post to Hardy (he drives and I entertain) we reflected on the many small kindnesses we experienced on our trip. There were the Japanese women in the breakfast room with whom I chatted for a bit; the mother and son (he was in a police uniform) who sat next to us intensely conversing, and who later shared about her family with me; The Mennonite retired professor from Manitoba and his Scottish wife whom we met at a rest stop and who approached us and introduced themselves because we were fellow Manitobans; and so many more! Community is alive and well in Canada!
Dear Elfrieda, I think you and Hardy find kindness because you look for it. Also, you have this quality in yourselves.
Thank God for safety. We drove two days each way from Florida to Pennsylvania and back, much of the time in heavy traffic.
Thanks for posting these positive examples here for all to enjoy! 🙂
Marian — I always enjoy getting an email in my inbox announcing that you’ve posted a new blog. This morning was no exception. In addition to reading what you and your other readers shared about bees…
…I just read that “Bees are not just insects. They have an amazing social structure, CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER, and produce wonder food for humans!”
Further, (and I found this attributed to two different people, one of them being Albert Einstein), “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.”
I like hearing your Buzz here, Laurie! Yes, we always surprise readers with our topics, a good thing, I think. Though I don’t know much about it, son Joel explained some of the amazing social structure of the bees’ community.
Also, I too have heard alarming facts about bees: that they are endangered, and that humans could not live without them. Thanks for your contribution again today! 🙂
Hello Marian, I re-read your blog on The Secret Life of Bees (a book I also enjoyed), and found a description of what happened for me this morning as I lingered near the two bee hives in my back yard:
“your heart will send you straight into the hum, where you will be swallowed by it. You will stand there and think, I am in the center of the universe, where everything is sung to life.”
I’m glad this blog sent you back to an earlier one, where you could find the hum – there and in your own back yard. This is amazing to me too!
Thanks so much, Dolores!
Oh, I like Jill’s quote as well. I’m not a good person to remember quotes, of all things!
I do remember being stung by twelve bees at a time in French Polynesia once. I think it was in the Marquesas, when Mark and I were on a walk over a hill, as often, “bushwhacking” it, since there were no paths or signs. I bent down to go under a tree branch and the next thing I knew were lots of stings and me almost fainting. I’d rubbed a bees’ nest with the back of my neck! We were pretty far away from our sailboat or any help. After sitting down for a while and my heart beating a tad faster than normal and being in quit a bit of pain, we returned back to our dinghy. That’s when I discovered I wasn’t allergic to bees. But, I’m still and will always be kind to bees, and about every other animal on this world.
I probably have this story written down in my hand-written diary from 2014, stored in Belgium. Now, my diary is digital. No scraps or clippings anymore. As a matter of fact, I kept separate notebooks during my teens that contained lots of paper souvenirs, cinema stubs, festival tickets, boarding passes and so on. It was a life’s trail of about five thick books like that, but I threw them all out last year, when my parents moved.
I am fascinated by your stories and the journals that contained them. You are both brave and wise to throw them out (I think.) I’m very allergic to bees and cat dander. That’s why I carry some Benadryl with me. Nevertheless, I prefer homeopathic remedies (like histaminum on the tongue) to strong drugs, which come in handy in dire need. (Yesterday I read the anecdote of the crazy person who used poison ivy leaves to wipe their behind when they “took care of business” in the woods.)
You have so much rich material stored in the “Cloud,” with your blog and on Facebook. That’s enough! Thanks for all this, Liesbet!
Lovely thoughts! Just imagine how wonderful the world would be for more people if we were kinder.
I think people are being intentionally kinder these days because they perceive the world in general seems more rude and full of bullies. You spread so much beauty and kindness on your blog with those awesome photos, Lady Fi!
I’m surprised no-one has said ‘to bee or not to bee, that is the question’ – maybe it’s a bit feeble 🙂 I have the greatest respect for bees and definitely get a buzz when I see them in the garden and go into another orbit …
‘Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers’.
O my goodness, do I have clippings? Yes, I’ve got clippings from everywhere – not necessarily cartoons (I loved the detail of your one Marian)
Loved your post, thank you!
You are the first to quote Hamlet, sort of tongue in cheek – I love it! I’m glad you liked my post and added the Ray Bradbury quote, which I was not familiar with. Thanks, Susan!
I remember that extract from your book well, Marian. I haven’t got much experience with bees, but I do love honey and pure wax candles. I sometimes get a bee in my bonnet and can’t rest until issue is resolved to my satisfaction.
I believe it is the small acts of kindness that we experience everyday that make us truly human and we’d simply be lost without them. Thank you for reminding us of how important this is and to treat all around us with consideration and respect.
No one else has mentioned “bee in my bonnet,” but I think it’s a perfect way to describe writers (like you and me) who like to do the research, or find a novel way to get the story told – ha!
Your kindness shows in your blog, as you share your travels, your needlework and sometimes kindly observations. Thanks for all this, Fatima, including your memory of the bee hive my father tended!
I’ve just been told about this 15th century proverb: ‘Bees that have honey in their mouths have stings in their tails! One to think about…
Great post Marian. I loved that quote by Danusha. And a bee thing? My full first name means ‘Bee’. I’d heard the story once and forgot. Just found it on Google, lol. “Deborah is a feminine given name derived from דבורה D’vorah, a Hebrew word meaning “bee.” Deborah was a heroine and prophetess in the Old Testament Book of Judges.” 🙂
You are full of info here, Debby. Yes, I did know Deborah was an Old Testament prophetess, but I did not know her name means “bee.” I can’t think of a better name for you, busy as a BEE, writing books and blog posts, and bee-ing kind to share “honey,” endlessly promoting others. 🙂
Lol, I thought you’d get a hoot out of that. But yes, I was surprised to learn that about 10 years ago at some market somewhere where I saw a plaque with the name Deborah engraved in it and the mean was the bee. Of course, I had to have it! Isn’t it funny how most of us somehow grow into our names? 🙂
Yes, indeed! 🙂
My name is derived from the Hebrew, a variant of Mary, meaning “God has favored me.”
Well, I think he has. 🙂
I don’t have a hive of stories to share, but I do know one Bea-man that was attracted to a Honey Bee!
As DG said above, the very definition of my name is bee. 🙂 A lovely post with good reminders to be kind and take care of the bees. They are so necessary for our survival. Here’s a quote:
“Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” – Henry David Thoreau
I’m happy to meet you, Debbie D. Thanks for adding the Thoreau quote, which is new to me. You are welcome to join the conversation here any time.
I love the small kindness quote. As I am going through my emails and missed blog posts, it is the second time I have come across it. Perfect. Bees are amazing. My mom would leave clippings everywhere, especially of recipes she cut out to try.
I love bees and I love this, Marian. My son in North Carolina keeps bees and goes about the work with slow measured motion. He has 6 hives now because he leaves them plenty of honey and they swarm. When he catches them in the act, the swarm gets a new hive. He wears complete gear for working with the bees which must help the keeper relax. Thanks for including the Emily Dickinson piece and Small Kindnesses and your own post about bees which I don’t think I’ve read. We’ve been busy bee bloggers for lots of years now. Thank you for the sweetness.
Busy bee bloggers enjoying each other’s brand of sweetness. That about sizes it up, Elaine. Thanks for following every blog post. If you ever don’t have the time or energy to respond, I’d understand. However, visiting here may be a welcome break from dancing with Disco – or taming him!