I stir honey in my coffee sometimes. Now, maybe most of the time. With the big spoon clink clink in the big mug from your house. The honey is yours. The mug is yours. The bees aren’t yours now and neither is the house.
I get that paragraph finished and I don’t want to write anymore.
But your honey is almost gone. So I wrestle with that. Do I keep the jar with what’s left or do I eat the honey. After that last scrape on the glass- no more honey.
Do you remember the sun-white corner of our yard by the hawthorn where the bees busied? How you were covered white and the hives were piled white and sumac plumed to calm them and how you made us stay away til you were done?
And we would wait. On the shade of the front porch where the concrete was cold next to the azaleas.
You were down there humming James Taylor looking for a queen and watching them drone on to sweetness.
And soon, we would see you then, coming up the hill with something glistening in your hand and you’d take your knife from your pocket and cut it equal and our hands and tongues would drip gold.
I remember that.
Sometimes they would swarm and we’d drive up and down the road to find them at the right height in the right tree and you’d always find them and bring them home. That was always amazing to me. How you’d take us along at an easy pace, identifying trees and wildflowers and birds while we looked for your honeybees.
I think about it. Often.
But not as much as I want to.
I saw you by chat last night. You were in a sleepy shell and you don’t know faces by screens.
Every time. I slip to survival thinking this is the time. When your face is blank and you don’t know you taught me to ride a bike.
You probably don’t know you taught me to ride a bike.
But you did. Faithfully. Like a dad does. I was half way to the Osmun’s house before I realized you weren’t holding the back of the seat this time. And there was wind in my hair. And there you were in the middle of the road by the swamp where the Spring peepers chorused- back there hearty- smile waving at me. I crashed looking at you, but you ran and picked me up.
You knew me last night. You said, “Girlllllll” and you smiled that I love you smile that grounds me. I’ll take it. A million times over. I’ll take it.
Dad, the world’s a mess and I miss you.
By now, there would be messages on my phone.
Hey, Kid. It’s your Dad speakin’. Just wanted to check in and see how you all were doing. Nothing much going on here- well, except for hearing about about the virus. But we are here in the woods and I don’t want to go anywhere anyway. Have everything I need right here. Bees are doing good. Anna and I took a walk to the Pond yesterday. George and Val came for dinner and we talked about camping this Summer. Life is good. You got your health, you got everything, Kid. I got it knocked. I want you to know how much I love you and say hi to Pete. He’s a good man. And those kids. Tell them Pappy loves them. I love you, Sweetie. Give me a call sometime- let me know how you’re doing. Be careful. Talk to you soon.
Everytime. Like that.
I wish I hadn’t deleted them. I’d give anything.
Because sometimes I think I wander without you.
I saw you in November for your birthday. You, our family, my family. Celebrating you. You didn’t like the candles. We ate your chili. Your cornbread. Pies and not cake, of course. The day was perfect with memories and laughing and visiting, but I missed you there.
Later that night, I was at the table. Writing. You came and sat near me. I wrote on the paper.
I LOVE YOU. And I pushed the paper to you. And I kissed your cheek.
You took the paper and the pen. You couldn’t write anything. You tried.
You looked at me and you said:
I’M SORRY. ALL OF THIS.
And you hugged me.
Your hugs. They are the same.
And they bring me home.
I think that’s why. I think that’s why I use the bigger spoon instead of the teaspoon stirring the honey. I think that’s why I turn the spoon over and leave it on the jar lid waiting for the second cup.
Why I hit the side of the mug to make a noise and not just stir the middle. Why my first sip happens standing at the counter. Why I look out the window at the Woods before I leave the kitchen.
It’s like home to me.
I’m going to savor the honey, Dad. And on a morning soon, I’m going to finish the last spoonful.
And when I do, I’ll remember it.
For both of us.