Two years ago, we became the proud parents of two humming boxes of bees. It was a cloudy spring morning, the day we went to pick up our girls. I’ll never forget how anxious and excited my husband was. I’m convinced he was more excited about bringing home his first bees than he was our first born. Bret had talked about getting bees for a few years, but it wasn’t until some friends of ours became beekeepers that he began to think seriously about it. The moment we decided to become beekeepers, he flew into a frenzy. He meticulously built hives and stained stands. Poured over magazines, books, and YouTube, searching for any information on beekeeping and purchasing all the necessary supplies. He signed up for a bee school and became a certified beekeeper. He’s telling me right now, as I’m writing this post, how he needs to study for his Journeyman test next weekend. It’s the next step after becoming certified. He’s set his sights on becoming a Master Craftsman, the pinnacle of beekeeping certification. Can I just say how much I ADORE Bret Medlin?
It was a Saturday. Bret woke us up and herded our 10 month old daughter, Clara, and myself into our CRV. He smiled and tapped his hand all the way to Mr. Bill Boyd’s house. Mr. Boyd is a sage whom knows everything there is to know about bees. He keeps around 140 beehives and is a bit of a legend in Union County. Every year he creates nucs, or nucleus colonies, small honeybee colonies created from larger colonies, and sells them. When you look at his face, you can see his love for beekeeping tucked into the folds of his skin. He wears the hours of caring for these majestic insects like a cologne. His passion is intoxicating. He lights his worn smoker and waves it through the air like a composer, lulling the thrum of honeybees into a steady pulse, as he directs my husband over to his new boxes of bees. Clara and I sit in the car looking for the moon (her favorite game, and word, at the time). And then my husband emerges from the wooded throng of beehives, Mr. Boyd trailing behind, cradling a box full of bees, a goofy grin a mile wide plastered on his face. I knew then, this wouldn’t be one of his fickle hobbies. He was hooked. Head over heels and sinking fast. And I loved him so much more for it.
But then he put them in our car. My darling husband put a boxes of thousands of stinging bugs in the back of the car that my baby was riding in. And I flipped out. And there was nothing I could do about it. And neither of us were thinking. And we argued, looking absolutely ridiculous, I’m sure, in front of a gentle old man. And then we drove home. With the bees in our car. Very slowly. Saying prayers that no one would rear end us in the five miles we had to travel to get home. I will not belabor the topic of the car ride home, or discuss it further. I just want to say… “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for delivering my child and myself from the excruciatingly painful, horrible death of thousands, (probably billions, actually) of bee stings. You are a good, good Father. I know we must all die eventually, but thank you for not taking us in this manner.”
Once we arrived home, and I got Clara out of her car seat like I was at a pit stop, Bret cautiously removed the honeybees and walked them to their new home in our backyard. I glared at him as he strode by. I don’t think he noticed. He smiled with every step as he neared the hive stands he had built with his own two hands. His labor of love for his girls. He sat them down, donned his fresh bee suit, and opened the entrance for the bees’ orientation flight. The fuzzy striped creatures danced into the sky, celebrating their new home. And we became beekeepers.