The Beekeeper's Wife
- The bees have become the most important members of our family. In the late spring our daughter acquires 60 000 step-sisters (my assurance that they are in reality foster children doesn’t help) and the beekeeper wants
her to give them each names.
- The dog’s bowl outside is now a water source for the bees.
- Hallowed be the weeds and cursed is she who threatens to mow in the middle of the day.
in our home is sticky, gluey and treacly. I check out everything first with a wooden ladle, including the TV remote, the front door handle, the cat,
- When the beekeeper uses the word ‘honey’ it is no longer is
a term of endearment for me.
- When I drive the beekeeper’s truck, other drivers flash their lights to tell me there is smoke coming from the bed, altho there is always plenty of room to park at the grocery store as bees
peek from under the tarp in the back as soon as I stop.
- Everything stops for a swarm call. No matter what we are doing - and I mean anything - the beekeeper will pause for a milli-second, pick up his bag of pre-packed necessities,
and jump into his truck.
- The cashier at the grocery store no longer looks as if she is about to call the Dept of Homeland Security at our trolley full of 10 lb bags of sugar, brewer’s yeast and isopropyl alcohol,
and I no longer feel compelled to explain our purchases to those who are staring. Thank goodness for on-line suppliers, UPS and brown boxes.
- The beekeeper communicates with fellow beeks in a different language, and when he
is in the bee-yard there is one four letter word that dominates all others - OOPS - as in “Oops, there goes the queen.”
- I have listened so often to his many telephone conversations that I feel I can predict where the conversation
will go next, what he will say, and am often tempted to answer the phone in his absence, throwing in the occasional ‘oops‘ for good measure.
- I am no longer particular about my husband’s appearance.
When strangers stare, I shrug my shoulders and mouth the word “Beekeeper.” They seem to understand. Zits have been replaced by stings, dirt under his nails has been replaced by propolis. Nothing else goes in the washer when it’s
time to wash his bee-suit, which for me is not often enough.
- I used to check the pockets of his trousers for change; now I find queen cages, dead bees, balls of wax and propolis, even a small hive tool he complained of having lost.
- I do not have the words to describe the state of our kitchen after honey extraction.
- Our refrigerator is filled with fondant, pollen patties, dead queens in alcohol, jars of sugar syrup and swarm lures. Trying to get our
daughter to prepare her own meals is impossible -apparently, when a teen is looking to make dinner, a profusion of frozen, mite-infested drone larvae doesn’t spark her appetite.
- There is no room for a car in the garage amid
the piles of white buckets, stacks of unassembled hive parts, boxes of one and two pound jars with lids in plastic bags, and boxes of foundation.
- I avoid our neighbors as best I can. I no longer want to hear about bees in their
swimming pool, children allergic to bee stings and bee poop on their whites hung out to dry. I shop in another part of town, no longer go to the bank or post office and walk our dog at night. It’s not that I’m antisocial; I’m just married
to a beekeeper.