Friends are like flowers. Some are lilies, some are sunflowers and some are more like roses. While some flowers are thorny, others are just sweet. J.D. and I are lucky to have great friends in Teeter and Brian. We just wish they lived a little closer to us. To see them we have to drive about three hours. It’s worth the drive though.
Teeter and Brian have five kids ranging in age from 13 to 19 and they run a large milling operation in
Before we cracked open the first bottle of wine and appetizers, Teeter suggested that she and I take a walk around the orchards. It was a great idea given the long drive, the gorgeous day and the fact that I had never seen the mill or the orchards although I’ve heard about them for several years. As we drove out to the orchards with the dogs tailgating in the back of the truck, we talked about family and friends. That morning their family had all gone to a funeral of an old friend and we talked about him. This topic led us onto talking about other people who were close to us who had died in the last year that we missed. I reminisced about my Aunt Carol and she talked about a girlfriend she loved that passed away last summer, a woman who was like a sister to her. Every time Teeter talks about this woman, she laughs, so I know they were close friends and shared a lot of good times. As we talked, our discussion turned to the deeper topics of our fears. I related to Teeter an absolutely bizarre dream I had just had, and she told me that she was deathly afraid of bees. I asked her why and she told me a story of being attacked by a swarm of bees while out walking with her good friend. As she described in minute detail every moment of the bee attack, she said the only thing that bothered her was that her good buddy did nothing to help her when it happened. She just stood there. As we laughed (I, a little more nervously…thinking that I’ve never been stung by a bee, so I have no idea how it feels to have a bunch of them trying to sting you at once nor what I would do if I saw someone else being attacked)…she went on to talk about how bees target a person, leave a scent and attack all at once.
“Huh?” I said, “I’ve never heard of that before…” I tried to imagine how awful that must have been…and we arrived at the orchards. Hmm….well I couldn’t see a bee for miles, so I was excited to get the lay of the property, see the orchards, the pond and enjoy the views of Springtime in a walnut orchard.
As we exited the truck, the dogs took off running in familiar territory and I followed Teeter down the dirt road into the area of the orchards. Blooms only come from trees that are pollinated and of course, you need bees for that and as we got closer, Teeter pointed out the hives and mentioned that one of their foreman warned that the bees might be angry in the evening because they had just been moved in the morning. She redirected me around the area where the hives were “just in case” and we walked away from them. The dogs chased a chipmunk or a squirrel and were ahead of us when we noticed “Beebee” (Yep, the dog’s name was Beebe) running in circles, whining and biting herself…”Oh no!” Teeter shouted….”it’s the bees!” As she ran to help her dog, the bees started to swarm Teeter! As Teeter ran around screaming that the bees were all over her…she cried out for help. I could hear them in her hair and as I ran my hands through her hair, I demanded that she take off her shirt…”Take off your shirt now!” I repeated it…I could hear the bees but couldn’t see them. “Get them off me!” she cried. As she took off her shirt and we swatted them away, we ran across the field with the dogs and the bees behind us. DejaVu set in as we contemplated in amazement finishing a conversation about history that repeated itself within seconds of discussing it.
A single dying bee lagged behind her ear the entire time we walked back to the truck and as I flicked it off from behind her ear, I saw stings all over her neck and arm. She was clearly marked. I’d never seen anything like that in my life. Hugging her, she reassured me as having passed the friend test. For some reason they didn’t sting me once. I concluded it must be partly due to the combination of my Irish luck and my English blood because they clearly love the sweet people. Teeter is sweet…one of the sweetest people in the world. I know it and the bees do too.
Tammy Maher is a resident of El Dorado Hills and biweekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the web at http://www.familyfare.blogspot.com/