Betsy And The Bees Aug06


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Betsy And The Bees

The sun was out but it was not too hot or bright, in other words a perfect day for working in the yard.  Betsy thought briefly about going back in to change from her new stretch Jeans into an older pair.  But as she was not sure exactly what she might do today, she decided to just be a bit more careful and she could keep these new pants clean.  So she took up her bucket which holds the garden tools and stepped slowly around looking for something that called out to be done first.  Almost everything did need some sort of attention as she had been recovering from a surgery and had been house bound for much too long to suit her Texas Lifestyle.

She stood a moment taking in the fresh air just appreciating the chance to be out in it, when a bee buzzed close by her face and slid by her ear with a loud zzz sound.  Betsy covered her ear as the bee zipped past but not before she heard it say,

“Zzee Aspen tree!”  Did she really hear that?  Did the bee actually speak to her and say, The Aspen tree?  What about the Aspen tree?  Their yard had many, many, trees, but only one Aspen and it was so far back in a spot behind the Hanger that it was not even visible from the house.  She began to walk into the rose garden because they always needed something if only dead heading.  But the bee zzoomed back and past the other ear.

“zzee Aspen tree!”  It zzsaid to the other ear.  Then it zzzoomed up and out of sight over the hanger.  She wouldn’t have been able to see where it went except the sun had caught on its wings and back reflecting brightly back at her as if it set with crystal rhinestones.

That is the craziest thing I have ever heard.  Betsy said half aloud. A talking bee or one that just made sounds that sort of sounded like speaking. But it had repeated the same words twice so… I wonder why the bee wants me to go to the Aspen tree. She felt a little silly letting a bee order her about?   But curiosity won out.

She set her bucket down next to the rose garden path and stepped through to the other side to try to see what was behind the hanger.  Five full grown thick pine trees stood between her and the Aspen, as if hiding it from her on purpose.

But she could already hear the buzz that came from somewhere back there.  This part of the yard was left untamed as it was out of the way and the most colorful and well kept landscaping had been placed around the swimming pool and the rose garden was part of that view from both the kitchen and living room.

Tangled bushy shrubs took care of themselves and grew densely under and around the almost forest they had acquired with the house and hanger.  As she picked her way between them catching her clothes and stopping to lift the shirt and pants fabric loose from the needles that had snagged them, she cussed a little because she had not changed from her best new stretch Jeans before she decided to follow a bossy bee of all things.

It was too late to worry about her clothes now.  She was almost through to the Aspen, so she may as well keep going until she could see what was making the low constant hum.  It must be in the Aspen, because the bee had said so.  Now if that did not sound stupid what would?  Anyway she just thought it, so no one else knew what she was doing.  She began to wish she had brought the bucket.  She could use those sharp cutters to clear her way in and back out.  Another needle was worked loose and she turned back toward the tall thin Aspen tree that grew determinedly between the hardy, thick evergreens that surrounded it.

The hum was high above her in the flimsy thin branches with the pale gray green Aspen leaves.  She could almost see where the tight little ball that was alive with hundreds, maybe thousands, of fluttering, buzzing, bees was attached to the slender tree trunk.   Betsy stood below, looking up and watched as some bees left and others arrived, as the humming ball stayed the same.  Now what?

Why had the bee practically ordered her to come and discover this?  What did he expect her to do anyway.  Then her bee flew back to her side and buzzed around until it landed on her shoulder and seeing that she was not going to swat it off, crept up to her neck and said,  “Zzee zzsteps.  Zzee zzsteps zzstool.”

Now what did the bee think she would do with a step stool?  Even on the step stool she could not reach the swarmed bees, and why would she even want to?

Betsy turned to leave.  Seeing the bees clumped in the tree was interesting but not a first, it had happened every summer, and getting out of this thicket was going to be as difficult as getting in.  Next time, if there was a next time, she would definitely have a cutter with her.  That would be much easier than working the caught needles out one by one.  The fact is she did not know these darned native shrubs had needles.

Back at the rose garden she took out the cutters and began to snip off the dead flowers one at a time.

But the bee was back landing on her shoulder and trying to tell her to go to zzee Azzpen tree.  She turned her head to tell the bee that she had done that and there was a swarm at the top, but so what?  She was not tall enough to reach it and she didn’t know what to do with it if she could.

J.R. came out from the house as she was telling the bee to buzz off.  She was not a bee keeper and as much as she liked bees there was nothing she could do, even if she knew what it might want her to do.

Her husband looked around and seeing no one, inquired.

“Who are you talking to?”  Betsy looked up in surprise and without thinking about how it sounded told him,

“This bee is after me to go back to the Aspen tree as there is a bee swarm there.”

“You know that because the bee told you so?”  he asked.

“Well, yes and no. He told me and so I went back and looked… I have the bramble scratches to prove it.  But there is a very high swarm in the Aspen and I could not reach it even if I wanted to.”  J.R. shook his head and walked over closer to Betsy to check her out.  She had been stuck in the house for far too long.  He was about to put his hand on her forehead to check for a fever, when he accidently almost brushed the bee sitting there on her shoulder, off.

The bee flipped up and caught in her long blonde hair.  As he buzzed frantically to get loose, J,R. took his finger and thumb and plucked it carefully out by its wings.

“Watchzz itzz manzz. Wingzz izz zzsoft.”  J.R. jumped in surprise and let go of the bee at once.  The bee buzzed away to protect his soft wings and once they were unbent he flew back to Betsy’s other shoulder, and repeated, “Zee Azzpen Trezz.”

“I told you I was there.  You even saw me, and all you said was to get a step stool.  But I didn’t know what to do with it, so I gave up and came back to work on my roses.”

J.R. had heard it all now.  Betsy always liked bees, but she had gold or silver ones that hung on chains around her neck or pinned to a blouse. and their grandchildren even called her Bebe, but talking to them in person was something else again.  Which of them had cracked up?  He even thought he understood what the tiny insect had said as he picked it up.  Then listening to Betsy give an excuse to the little winged thing, as if it had the right to tell her what to do and he saw it sit quietly listening to her as she was explaining the problem back to him.

“I think it’s time to come in out of the sun.”  J.R. told his wife.  “We are beginning to imagine things out here.”  He laughed a tiny insecure laugh and said,  “Tell your friend that you need to go in and make lunch now.”  Even though he felt foolish telling her that.

“Sure, I’ll be right in. “  she told him, turning to the bee, “You heard him, so see you another time.”

Betsy carried her bucket of tools back to the tool shed at the corner of the patio and went in through the sliding kitchen door.  J.R. was already at the frig getting out two cold cokes and Betsy reached around him to take out the bread and some cold turkey for the sandwiches.

“You should take a little nap after lunch.”  J.R. told her. “Please don’t over-do it on these first few days.”

“I know, I won’t. But it felt so good to get out in the fresh air.”  Betsy did a little cleaning up in the kitchen.  She had been leaving all of those little jobs for her husband as she was recovering, but now she actually was happy to take some of them back again.

As soon as she was satisfied with the look of her kitchen, she headed for the bedroom.  She was after all feeling a little tired.

J.R. went out to the hanger to do a little work on their airplane while Betsy napped.

He did not notice that as he went out, a tiny bee slipped in.  The little yellow and black insect had been waiting on the sliding door for someone to open it.

Inside, it was not familiar with the rooms and had to buzz from one to the other looking for Betsy.  It was about to go upstairs, when it turned the corner next to the computer room, and saw her bedroom on the right… with her lying on top of the large quilt covered bed sleeping.

He took a position upon the head board to wait for her wake up.  Disaster might strike any bee who buzzed a sleeping person. They could swat very accurately in their sleep.

The bee looked the room over carefully, there was a cage in the kitchen which he saw through the window as he waited.  It seemed to house a rather large bird, but isn’t everything large compared to a bee?  If the bird could get out he might have to fly for his life.  So watching for danger from all sides the bee waited for Betsy to finish her nap.

Her kindness to bees was well known among the colonies and when the strange heavy package had fallen from an Airliner and landed on the Aspen tree, the bees had looked it over and decided that it was not anything that they could use.  They could use anything that would make honey, or feed the embryos or the queen, or possibly keep the hive warm or help build wax and nothing else.

These odd things that were in the package would only be useful to a people person.  One of the worker bees had burrowed in and looked it over carefully and that was what he said.   They held a conference and decided that if it went to anyone it should go to the nicest people person they knew…Betsy.  So this bee was chosen to take her to it.

Meanwhile a group of the hives population had surrounded it to keep it hidden until Betsy could be notified of its existence. And he was out here doing everything he could think of to get her to go up and get it.

There was no way that they could take it to her.  Even if everyone in the entire hive and a couple more hives came to help…they could not carry it away from the tree.

Betsy must come and get it.  The chosen bee had practice a few people words to get her to go there, and she did. But she did not go up and see what the bees were hiding next time, maybe if she came back, they could fly off and let her see what they hid from some other eyes.

Even though the Aspen was on her property and behind her hanger others had been in a position to find the dangling package.  Several young boys had been playing hide and seek and the two who hid between the pines had looked up and the biggest one began to climb after the odd package, but the bees rallied and flew around the boy so wildly that they both dashed out and were spotted by their seeker. Game over… they went home.

The next day a line man was tracing an electrical problem and as he passed next to the trees he saw the package hanging by the strings that held it closed. He knew it was not the problem he was looking for, but it had an interesting look, so he worked his way to the pines and again was chased from the area by a swarm of angry bees.

That was when they formed groups to take turns covering it. But as they did this job no one was out gathering honey nectar and they wished Betsy would hurry and get this thing, so they could be working bees again.

Bees don’t sleep so the appointed bee just stood there on the headboard watching Betsy and waiting. Then the cat walked in.

At first the bee just froze, but the cat spotted him anyway and as he crouched to pounce up to the headboard, the bee took off and flew to the ceiling where he buzzed to a corner and came down onto a lampshade.

The cat hit the headboard and tumbled back onto Betsy.  She woke up startled by the cat on her head and sat up quickly enough to knock him to the floor again.  She saw him land on his four feet and puff himself up.

“Oh, I’m sorry.”  she cooed to her cat.  “Come up here kitty baby and let me see if you are alright.”

But the cat had spotted the bee on the lampshade and jumped after it, knocking over the lamp.  It didn’t break just bent the shade a little. And Betsy got up to straighten it saying, “Naughty kitty!  What is the matter with you today?”

The bee was getting tired of fleeing from the cat and spotting a crack in the almost closed window, buzzed through the narrow space and found himself trapped by the closed window screen.  But it was okay for now, as the cat could not get through the window, even though he was trying hard to reach the bee, as one clawed paw was reaching in, but not far enough.

Awake now Betsy rose and went into the bathroom.  The bee was in no position to even try to follow with the cats face pressed to the glass and one paw reaching and reaching.

Betsy came in all refreshed and stepped into her flats and was about to go to the kitchen for a drink when she saw the cat with his paw waving around under the window glass.  “What are you doing kitty, have you seen a fly or a moth on the screen.”  She was about to open the window so the cat could catch his prey, when she saw the trapped bee buzzing against the glass in a vain effort to get the cat to leave.

“Oh oh that will never do.”  She told the cat, as she picked him up and petted him as she gently put him out of the room and closed the door.

Back at the window she opened it wider so the bee could buzz out.  He flew to her shoulder as he had before and told her at once to “bzzz bzzz bzzz.”  She looked at the bee confused as she did not speak bee.  Realizing his mistake he used his new three word people vocabulary and repeated “Zzee Azzpen treezz.”

“Haven’t we been over this before?”  She asked the bee, but he didn’t always understand her words either. And trying to use her words to get her to the Aspen was getting very tiring.  He buzzed up to the top of the window and looked around

Then he saw something that gave him an idea, if he could get her to follow him that might work.  So he buzzed down to her dressing table where he had spotted her white gold ring with the odd pearl in it, so with a good head start, he flew himself into it and as far out as he could to get his wings free, then he flew off wearing the ring around his yellow and black striped middle and with great effort to the top of the head board.

Now the trick was to get outside, so she would have to follow him to get her ring back.  But this room would not let him out.  Betsy made a dash to the bed to reach for the ring, but the now handicapped bee took off and she still could not catch him.  He had to catch his breath again on top of the bookcase, which was at least next to the door.

Betsy knew better than to let him out of the room, but as he sat there watching for her next move, the door opened and J.R. walked in as the bee buzzed out.

“No!” Betsy cried out, “Oh darn it’s too late now.  He got out.”

“I didn’t see anyone leave.  Who was here?”  J.R. asked

“That darned bee stole my pearl ring and now he is out of here.”  She began to dash out to see where he had flown to this time.  At least she could keep him in the house.

The cat saw him go, as he was sitting just outside of the door, wanting to go back in.  But as the bee buzzed by he turned and gave chase.

“Follow the cat!”  Betsy said to her husband, “ he is after the bee too.”

“Are you sure you got enough nap?”  J.R. asked as her strange behavior had not improved with her short rest.

But Betsy was out the door and following the cat who, was following the bee, who had the ring around his waist.

So out of curiosity, J.R. followed Betsy, who followed the cat, who was following the bee, who had what?

The bee had to stop often due to this new weight. However he was pleased that he was being followed that was his plan after all.  He looked around frantically for a way out. But J.R. had been playing with the bird and he had left him sitting out on a chair back, while he went to see how Betsy was doing.  The bird saw the bee immediately as it buzzed past and took after it.  He had never seen such a large bee but all the better to gobble him.

The cat didn’t like the competition for his prey and hissed at the bird, which didn’t slow him down a bit.  Betsy grabbed the cat and opened the door to put him out before he could hurt the bee with the ring.  But the bee needed only that quick crack in the door to make his escape and he buzz off, just not so fast or far that Betsy, and now even the cat, couldn’t go after him.  The bird flew out behind Betsy and J.R. was now after the bird.

The bee led the parade down the path to the side of the hanger.  Then he rested on twig of a pine tree until everyone had time to get closer.  First came the fastest, which was the cat, then the bird was close behind as he didn’t fly outside very often…well never… and so was unsure of his wings but with the bee in sight he struggled on.  When Betsy came around the corner she watched the bee with her ring hopping twig to twig just ahead of her toward the Aspen tree.

The cat made a good dive for the bee but the twig was too soft and he slid down to the ground and had to brush himself off and regain his dignity before continuing the chase.

J.R. came last with a ladder in his arms.  He knew that his bird would be up somewhere and he would need to climb after it.  The bee began an upward spiral on the Aspen branches and the bird was close behind.

J.R. passed Betsy with the ladder and placed it against the Aspen trunk.  When the bee with the ring looked back, the cat was climbing the tree right behind him and the bird closing in one hop at a time.

Just then J.R. plucked his bird from in back as he was being distracted by the large number of bees suddenly buzzing by.  The bee with the ring had told the other bees to just leave quietly so that Betsy could come up and get her ring and the package they wanted her to have, that was causing them so much bother.

“Just go collect honey” he told the bees who had been on duty hiding the package.

“Gladly.”  They told the bee with the ring. “What took you so long?  You must have been stuffing yourself while we worked to keep Betsy’s package.  Just look at the belly on him!”  They all laughed as they happily left to go back to work.

J.R. tucked the bird safely into his pocket and zipped it shut before he backed down the ladder.  Betsy watched him get down and off then she began to climb.

“Wait a minute you can’t climb up that ladder, you’ll fall.  The cat can get down on his own.”

But Betsy wasn’t listening, and she wasn’t after the cat.  She wanted her ring.  So not heeding J.R. she went up one careful step at a time, holding the sides with both hands.  When she was close enough to see the package, the bee was sitting on it.  He hopped to her hand and sat there as she put up one hand to hold the ring as the bee slid out of it.  Then she put it on her finger and was about to leave but the bee buzzed and buzzed a dance on the package until she realized somehow that this was what he had been telling her all along.  There was package here for her, and he had to fly off with her ring to lead her to it.

She slipped the string that held it to the tree and was going to take it in her free hand when it began to fall away as it was too heavy for her to handle.  She called down to J.R.

“Look out below!  There is package falling to the ground that’s too heavy for me to hang on to.

J.R. looked up, as he had stood there to steady the ladder for his wife, who he was worried about after she had insisted upon climbing the ladder against his wishes.

The box fell loose from the paper which had been weakened by the night dew and just fell apart as it slid bumpity bump down the ladder steps and plopped to the hard, dry, ground with a heavy smack, which J.R. dodged expertly.

Betsy began backing down the ladder one slow step after the other and finally at the bottom, they both turned to looked at the debris the package had left on the dirt as it broke open and spilled the pieces into a pile.

There open and visible they saw and began to pick up some gold chain jewelry, a fairly large pile of assorted coins, both gold and silver, representing some obviously foreign countries as well as the U.S.,  several little boxes had popped open and dropped several gold rings set with various colored stones and diamonds.

Betsy gathered them up and put the lids on those opened and took them all into her pockets, to carry them to the house, just as J.R. was doing with those things he could find room to carry.   As Betsy began to pick up the chains, she came across two that were slightly tangled with each other and discovered that they each had a tiny gold and silver bee hanging like lucky charms on the twisted gold chains.  She carefully parted them by unwinding the dainty chains and then hung them both around her neck to look at them later.

As they worked to clean the area of its valuables, she couldn’t help but notice the irony of the still circling real bees who had purposefully led her to their darling little, but life size, sparkling golden images.

There were two sheaths of parchments and a large piece of the damaged box which was used to carry anything that had not been pocketed.  They even gathered up the damp paper and rotted string to leave the tree base clean.  They hoped that closer scrutiny would give them some evidence of the real owner… other than the recent owners…the bees.

The bees buzzed about in happy circles and both J.R. and Betsy now knew what the bees had been trying to tell her all along.  The cat grew weary and just wanted his favorite food.  He had lost interest in chasing bees forever.  They weren’t very tasty anyway.  It was the chase the cat loved… until he grew hungry and sleepy.

The next morning a phone call to the person named on the parchments brought the former owner quickly over to see if this was his lost package from his luggage on the Airline.  How it made its escape would never be known, just as all unfortunately lost luggage, but the owner just wanted his parchment papers back, which J.R. had used to find his name and number.  They contained important business information and the deeds to two lots and a building he was constructing.

Betsy and J.R could keep the other stuff, it was of no importance to him.  Betsy hung the lucky golden bees back around her neck.

J.R. was interested in sorting and learning about the coins, as he had been a semi- collector ever since receiving that twenty dollar gold piece on his twentieth birthday.

Betsy continued to be friendly with her living bees and J.R. let her, without suspicion as to her sanity.  And she remained popular with the bees.

The bird was very happy to be back on the floor of his own kitchen.  No more flying outside for him.  He was happy to be in fencing with the cat, whenever the lazy critter wasn’t napping.

So Betsy and the bees and the cat and the bird all lived happily ever after with J.R.