Page 92 - Vol. VI #2
P. 92

Pinky Swear (continued from preceding page)
A wood bee flying around a young Abe Lincoln’s Log Cabin a couple of centuries ago would have felt proud of his particular tunnel home. The neurons in his wood bee brain had changed
little from those that lived in his ancient ances- tor. When he saw a gangling young man walking around, he felt anger. He could imagine the gi- ant monster stepping on him or eating his mate. Wood bees can’t sell. The~y can’t speak English. The only way to sell the monster on the idea he should leave was to buzz angrily around his head. And it usually worked.
The boy at school was one person, at home another. At school, his main desire was to be quiet, be un- noticed, to never be called on. Yet if he was, he was polite and usually knew the answer. He was the kid that, once gone, his teachers would not long re- member.
At home, he didn’t mind screaming and crying to express his righteous indignation. He was indig- nant a lot. His mother always understood, always tried to make it better. After all, the boy was right, the world wrong. Only rarely was a different view expressed. His stepfather, behind a newspaper and when his mother could not hear, would quietly mut- ter “spoiled brat.”
Yet, when Rick died the boy did not cry. He only said quietly “I told him not to go in the road.” You would have thought the boy was stoic or uncaring. Maybe he thought that Rick’s death was too important for tears. The boy had always been lonely. The boy did not know that he had been lonely until that day. The boy knew his view of the world had changed. He would never again be as happy as he had been.
The second the bumblebees swarmed up, the boy knew he was in trouble. Abandoning the mower, he dashed behind a large, nearby bush, getting as far as possible into the limbs and leaves. Peeping out, the boy thought he was safe—the bees were set- tling down, returning to their damaged home. Soon they were all gone—except for one bee.
This bee was flying what you had to call a search pattern. Flying from one end of the yard to the other, looking over and behind every bush in the yard—then she came to the boy’s bush.
The boy tried to run, but immediately felt the bee tangled in his hair and then the sharp pain. The boy ran crying to his house. The bee did not follow.
When my son served a wood bee into the back- yard, the surviving wood bees’ anger probably increased, but a new em~otion, fear, instantly ap- peared. To any intelligent creature, the solution was obvious—fly close to the beams, don’t give the monster a clear shot.
His mother held his head in her lap and gently ap- plied wet baking soda to the sting “to draw out the poison.” As the pain receded, the boy’s first thought was “that sure was one smart bumblebee.”
The boy sat up and looked at his mother. He was thinking about something else, but just said “I wish Rick had been as smart as that bee, he would have known to stay out of the road.”
The boy returned to play and to grow older. He often thought sadly of Rick, but he was also haunt- ed by another thought: Maybe all of God’s crea- tures are smart!
As time passed, as it always does, the boy thought less and less often of Rick and the bumblebee. His mind turned to more practical matters.
Stewart earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee. He worked for three years for IBM, in Huntsville, Alabama (part of the Space Program developing the Saturn V Moon Rocket). After returning to Memphis, he founded Data Management Systems, Inc. Initially, the  rm specialized in computer consulting, but later moved into Internet marketing.

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