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View from Hickory Heights: Lessons from nature

In my reading I came across a story about a father and son. They were extracting honey from a beehive. As they were about to finish, the son noticed there were some bees sitting in the honey. They were covered with the sticky stuff. The son asked his father if he could help those bees. The father told him they probably would not survive.

They left the cup with the bees in it just outside their door.

A little later in the day, when the father had time, he checked the cup with the bees. Other bees had joined the ones left there. They were cleaning the bees left behind.

There was only one bee left in the cup. The additional bees continued the cleaning process. When they were finished, all of the bees were gone. They had managed to save those bees after all.

We used to have beehives. I recall extracting honey while living in my trailer. It was a time-consuming process. At that time, we melted the wax, skimmed it off, and then processed the honey. I was so happy to put the extra wax – with bees still in it – outside my back door.

I should have known the end of that story, but I did not remember my experience until later. All of the wax disappeared if we just left it there. The bees came and took it back.

Our daughter was about two at the time. My mother-in-law and I had the hive we were working on atop the picnic table. I never thought about the danger it posed.

When I looked out and saw my daughter climbing on the picnic table, I was shocked. The bees were flying around her and she paid no attention to any of them. I quickly cleaned up my hands and went out to rescue her. She had no idea the danger she was in.

Those bees knew what they were doing.

They were gathering what was left and returning to the hive with the material.

As to the bees in the story, they went back to the hive without harm.

What if we approached life that way?

Why can we not be kinder to each other?

Those bees did not worry for themselves. Their only concern was for their sisters – for all worker bees are girls.

Life is difficult enough as it is. If we remembered the age-old system of helping our neighbors, we would all be better off.

Country life has taught me a lot. Not that when I lived in the city, I was any different. I learned to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. I was raised in a Christian family who willingly went without to help others.

We were not wealthy. My mother raised me with no monetary help from my father. He left when I was not even two years old. All that I had came from my mother’s hard work.

She walked the mile to work because we did not have a car. I remember seeing her walk up the street for lunch. By the time she got home she had only a few minutes to eat before she had to leave again. I never thought much about this until my later years. She really sacrificed for me.

By the time I turned sixteen, I went to work. I remember right after my birthday going to Sidey’s department store to turn in an application for Christmas work. That is the only place I went. That is where I wanted to work. My mother asked me about that. I just knew that I would get a call. They hired a lot of Christian girls and women.

I reported to work the day after Thanksgiving. That was when the Christmas season officially began.

I was expected to keep busy, but I was treated well. There was a room upstairs where I could eat my lunch. It was much too expensive to buy my lunch every day. Every once in a while, it was a nice treat to go to West Drug for chili with crackers though.

The news is constantly showing pictures of various demonstrations. The people shown seldom have on masks. They surely are not social distancing. Why do we not have surges of COVID from those demonstrations?

Just as we have to learn to live with COVID, we must learn to live with people of all ethnicities. They deserve respect. They deserve kindness. They deserve to be able to honor their roots. Here I pause — we also deserve to honor our roots.

We deserve to be able to assemble in religious houses.

We deserve to speak the language that is American.

The U.S. has always been melting pot. It is only of late that we teach with respect to language. In the past all the children learned English so they could complete their studies. Let us melt and blend — we would all be better off.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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