Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day #5 (only 595 to go)

My sister called me several days ago and asked, "Did you know that Granddaddy kept bees?" Well, no; I hadn't known that. It seems my grandfather, who was a Mississippi farmer all his life, used to have beehives. He kept them for years, never used any protective equipment, and--we would guess--got plenty of honey from them.

Then, one day, my sister told me, he got badly stung, had a severe allergic reaction, and got rid of his hives, never again to keep bees.

The trouble with third-hand stories like this  is that one can't get details. My grandfather died years ago. And my dad has been gone for eight years. I never thought to ask him about his father's role as a beekeeper, because I didn't know to ask. Was he really stung by the bees, or did he perhaps stumble on a yellow-jacket nest? I'll never know.

What other stories have I lost along the way, simply because I didn't know what to ask about? What are the stories that you haven't heard - or haven't told anyone?

It's time to start writing down our stories, so that grandchildren, nieces, nephews, siblings, children, will have a way of connecting when we're not around to answer the questions. I have copies of my grandfather's diaries. I can't recall ever having seen a reference to bees. But then again, I wasn't looking for that when I read through them.

Time to go back and read them with a specific topic in mind. There's no telling what I'll find.

Beeatitude for Day #5:
Blessed are they who keep their hands in their pockets when visiting us, for they shall not frighten us with flailing arms.

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