Monday, July 22, 2019

Freeman frees the bees

I just finished a wonderful book, Queen Bee (2019) by Dorothea Benton Frank. The setting is  the low country of Sullivan's Island and takes the reader on a side jaunt to Vegas. Immediately I was drawn to the beach scenes. Queen Bee is a matriarch and the story unfolds in a timely manner with so much drama, and fun, and romance. The book is infused with characters so real I felt I knew them. Queen Bee's added bonus contains fascinating  facts about how important honey bees are.

I taught school age children in summer day camp at public school many years ago. My students ate lunch picnic-style on the sidewalks and lawn. On the days we had honey ham sandwiches, I would show the children how if they placed a tiny piece of ham on their open palm and waited, a honey bee would come along and take a nibble and fly away. The kids were amazed and learned not to fear honey bees.

Sad that honey bee populations are waning. But delighted to hear about Morgan Freeman's efforts to maintain their population.  Devastated that the current administration has removed protections for bees.

THANK YOU MORGAN FREEMAN for donating your 134 acre farm to the bees. In an interview Freeman talked about the motivation as to why he began beekeeping. "There is a concerted effort for bringing bees back onto the planet…We do not realize that they are the foundation, I think, of the growth of the planet, the vegetation..."
Freeman imported 26 bee hives from Arkansas to his ranch in Mississippi. There, Freeman works to feed the bees sugar and water and has help planting bee-friendly magnolia trees, lavender, clover, etc.
Freeman added that he never wears a bee suit or a bee hat and they haven't stung him yet. He only feeds them and has no intention of harvesting honey or disrupting the beehives.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Plant word seeds and watch them grow.

Words are like seeds. When they take hold they grow into poems and prose. 

Are you a helper like Liam? Do you help your fellow writers? Offer a comment, provide a place to submit? We need to help one another grow so we can all reach our potential. 


 I asked Liam to feed his baby brother Charlie for a moment while I fixed his bottle. His first response was, "Oh Nana, I don't think I can. I've never done that before."

I assured him it would only be a moment and I knew he COULD do it! I believed in him. He believed in himself. And believe me, Charlie stopped screaming. We were all winners.

Even if you have never tackled something before, a new genre, a new market, whatever it is, tell your self, "I can TRY." You will  be as pleasantly surprised as Liam that you succeeded in your attempt. I never thought  for a moment I could convert a long essay into a poem, but I tried, and I did it!

Alex is a helper. He picked Paw Paw's GREEN tomatoes. He thought they were apples. He was so proud of himself. We smiled and praised him. BUT THEN...
 He reached his little hands through the neighbors fence and picked a pepper, and figured out how to walk it up the chain link fence using both hands. He then proudly presented it to me.

Ever wonder what happens when someone takes your stuff? Well if it is an idea, you are out of luck. Ideas can not be copyrighted. But if someone paligiarizes your work, you should protest.
The world needs more helpers. Let me offer a market to you. Trish Hopkinson.com has
lots of call outs and good info. I hope you have a productive week.


Monday, July 8, 2019

Unusually speaking


Sometimes when we eat at fast food restaurants the clientele, well... if I make eye contact or observe for a while, it seems as though I could be in the rec room of a mental health facility. I am a magnet for these people.

Today we saw a woman with a bag of ice on the inner bend of her elbow talking away to herself. I did not make eye contact, but kept a close eye on her. She left her cell phone and charger outside on the trash can and kept telling everyone. Smile and nod. 

A man about fifty stumbled through the door panting, gasping. I thought he was going to pass out from the heat. He was 100 pounds overweight and carried 75 of those pounds in his midsection. He had what my dad called Dunlap. His belly done lapped over his belt. His shirt was threadbare and dirty. He had a jolly full face. When he walked by and looked directly at me, I smiled. He burst out laughing.

I averted my eyes and continued on to our booth. That's when I noticed he was watching a sit com on TV. He was happy as could be to be in air conditioning.

I told the counter girl he appeared to need some attention as he was so short winded. She took him a drink of water. He kept looking around at everyone eating their burgers. I told the counter girl there was something not right about the man.

She said, "I'll bet he's hungry. I'll go check on him." He was very grateful when she took him a meal.

I complimented her for having a good heart. I asked her how she got her unusual name. She proceeded to tell me her life story.
 
"I'm 13 of 14 children. Grew up in Oklahoma. Went bad in my 30s, did some stupid things. Got a spiritual awakening last year when my boys said, 'Mama get that junk out of your system. We don't know you no more.' So I moved to St. Louis to stay with my sister. Got clean and have been for 10 months. And my name... Fredella? Well, I think they ran out of selections by the time they got to me and so they combined my dad's and mom's name to make mine."

I said, "You have a great  personality and a good heart. It shows."
She beamed, as happy as could be. 

Bill and I were in a nicer restaurant the other day. I heard a man about 50 talking to his mom and sister at a  table across from us. "I can't wait to see my new tennis shoes. They're getting me a pair of Nikes."

I glanced over and was taken aback. He looked so much like my cousin. The soles of his tennis shoe clad feet were on the seat of his wheel chair. He had no legs, but he had adult sized feet. He seemed as happy as could be.

Made me very thankful. Also made me think of the babies with birth defects from when doctors prescribed Thalidomide to their pregnant mothers years ago. I had a little girl in one of my first classes who had one typical hand and one deformed with no fingers. She was as happy as could be!

The more I thought about all of these people I encountered, the more I realized, life is what you make it. Kindness counts. And a smile goes a long way.
    



Thursday, July 4, 2019

Five dollars worth of fun

If you have the opportunity, stop by The Missouri Botanical Gardens for a lesiurely walk through the flower gardens and wonderful displays. FREE ADMISSION for St. Louis City and County residents on Wednesday mornings.

The Children's Garden is amazing mostly outdoors and partial indoors activity area. Here are some of the things Liam did in the three hours we were there on a very hot summer day. 
$5.00 admission for children over 2 years old. SO MUCH FUN!

ART EVERYWHERE! Chihuly onions floating in a pool at Henry Shaw's Garden.
Walking a balance beam rope several feet off the ground with a net is a daring feat. Liam could could be related to the Wallendas.

This looks like a typical slide, but it is built into a cement hollow tree.  Liam was thrilled everytime he travelled through "a tree." Above was a huge tree house to climb in and out of and run through.

We came upon a splash pad for toddlers. He couldn't resist the action-reaction lily pad. When he jumped on it, the water sprayed.

There was a play area in a narrow stream with plastic boats. He loved being the captain of his own ship.



He loved exploring the cave, and he uncovered a fossil which he was certain was a dinosuar bone.

The old fashioned outdoors General Store had a produce stand. Liam loved being shop keeper and named every fruit and vegetable on the shelves. He amazes me.

There were climbers, slides, and also vines.

 And a replica of a bee hive to go inside and see the honeycombs hanging from above.

What a better way to end our day than to come upon a huge circular walk-through spray, with a twenty foot or better circumference that wrapped around the entire patio. I was almost tempted! It was so hot and this old nana was exhausted after three hours of exploration. The best thing we discovered about the Botanical Gardens is there's also an indoor area to cool off and rest with many hands-on science areas to explore.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

They tore down a church and put up a convenience store

Saw a guy about 50 years old yesterday at a bus stop fall down in the grass. I stopped the car to see if he needed an assist. Thought of PEARL immediately. If you don't know Pearl the Minneapolis bus rider, her blog is a must read!

"Sir, do you need an ambulance? Are you okay?"

"Yeah. I'm okay. I missed the bus and got a little tipsy."

"You sick?" 

"Well, maybe I been drinking a little. I know I shouldn't a been. I missed the 3:40 bus. I'm going to sit right here and wait for the next bus."

"Well you fell pretty hard. Scoot back under that shade tree. It's almost 100 degrees, and you don't need to be sitting in the sun. Otherwise I'm going to call someone." I used my teacher voice.

"Ma'am, yes ma'am!"  He tried to win me over with a toothless smile. He inched his bony butt backwards, and I left him sprawled there.

I flagged a city bus roaring down our road. The young professional driver squealed to a stop and asked if I needed help.

"No, but there is a man who missed the last bus and fell down. He's sprawled in the grass at your next stop down on the corner. Could you wait for him to come on board?"

"Ma'am, yes ma'am." 

Hmmm... I had NOT used my teacher voice with him. I also did not say the man was three sheets to the wind soaking up sun rays AND Quick Trip 
sold-by-the-single-tall-can beer. 

QT is the gasoline/convenience store built (and recently opened) in the same spot where the huge Lutheran church was located for decades before being demolished last year. 

I'm not implying the church didn't have imbibers; I'm  just wondering what kind of congregants QT will attract.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

A ten foot corpse?!

Corn stalks can grow to over ten feet, but at first glance this looked like a gaint 10 ft. EAR of corn. 


Then we read the plaque about this corpse flower on display at Missouri Botanical Garden in our town. On Wednesdays admission is free for senior residents of the city or county. So I took Liam. Be sure to return for my next post to see all the things available for children.

The corpse flower is supposed to open any day. It blooms for one or two days only. We are hoping to return midweek to get a whiff of the worst smell ever. Liam asked how bad it would smell. I replied, "Like garbage and dirty diapers." "EWWW! No way. Will the stink stay on us?" What a mind that boy has. Be sure to come back for a visual tour of fun things to do with kids at the Children's Garden.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Rotting flesh

Hubby had to have a blood test, so I sat in the car and watched people come and go into the medical building. One older gentleman exited a red van in the aisle in front of where we parked. A younger blonde woman helped him toss canvas camping chairs and a bed roll out of the van and onto the pavement in the parking space next to theirs. They left the driver's door wide open.

I was waiting for someone to whip a car into that space, unaware of the camping equipment and open car door. Close calls a couple of times! But fifteen miutes later the old man got out. The gal told him he could leave because someone was on the way. The old guy hobbled off.

When Bill returned I told him half a dozen imagined scenarios. He listened and said, " Hmm, I think she just has a flat tire and is saving that space for the person coming to fix it.

He was right of course! Which ticked me off. I like it when my imagination runs wild.

Many years ago we were camping. A mid-twenties guy set up a tent across from us. For two days I observed him looking sad and somber sitting by the campfire. Then he disappeared, and we didn't see him at all for three days.

A foul odor drifted across the road from his campsite. I told Bill the guy looked deeply depressed, and I was going to go snoop around, and if I got caught I would say I was looking for firewood.
I skittered across the road and spied a scorched letter in the dead embers in the fire ring. I picked it up and read it. It was a Dear John letter. Aha!

I rushed across the way to tell Bill the guy had probably commited suicide and the smell was no doubt the dead man inside the tent. Bill told me to mind my own business. "Nothing is as you think. The guy is fine."

"I'm telling you I smell rotting flesh!" I insisted, flapping the charred letter at him.

That night a pick up truck pulled into the guy's camp site...and he exited the truck with his young son. He unzipped his tent and yelled, "Damn! That raw hamburger's rotten. All the ice melted in the cooler."

I hate it when Bill is right!