I was thinking about my cousin Wayne the other day and it made me think about his dad. Wayne's wife recently retired and I guess he is about to move into another realm of life. I will have to watch how he handles having his wife around him all day long and see how he reacts to the probable long list of honey do's and harass… ahhh…the new full time togetherness .Just kidding! Congratulations to the two of you for the long love relationship and retirement!
Wayne's dad was of course my uncle. His first name was Freddie and to me all my life he was Uncle Freddie. Unfortunately Uncle Freddie passed away many years ago, but I still remember a story that I wrote about him several years ago.
Uncle Freddie, to me, was always a quiet man. I don't recall ever hearing him holler and I really don't ever recall him getting in too much of a hurry about much of anything, well at least until a few years ago!
I saw him, first hand, do two things that really showed me how much of a hurry he could get into! Uncle Freddie worked for a local funeral home.
Now I would really like to mention the name of this establishment, but I haven't talked to anyone over there and they may not want my type of comments mentioned in the paper. Knowing the family, I think they would all laugh, but I know comments about funerals and funeral homes are sometimes taken the wrong way, when a person is in bereavement.
Uncle Freddie was one of the persons responsible for assisting people with parking, amongst other duties. Many times I have driven by the funeral home and have observed these gentleman, all in proper suit and tie, directing traffic. Rain or shine, cold or heat they have stood for long periods of time working with all sorts of drivers. They stand vigilant at their job. A somber face, proper attire and a pleasant helpful attitude.
Some days, when I have driven by, each man seems lost in his own thoughts. They appear to be trying to reserve energy and not break into a sweat on hot days.
On one of those hot days several summers ago, I broke the silence of Uncle Freddie's day in a very unusual way.
I enjoy messing with honeybees. I've never had a real hive before, but I have enjoyed taking bees out of trees and bushes. The hives I've tried didn't last too long and simply flew away.
One day I received a phone call from a friend of mine who said he saw a swarm of bees in front of the then Church’s Fried Chicken Place here in town. (It's now Popeye's) It was near my lunchtime, so I decided to leave the office and investigate.
I stopped in and talked to the manager who explained to me several of his customers were already in a panic and he would be real glad to have me remove the bees for him. As I investigated the hive, they were real deep into his shrubbery in front of his store and I explained to him I would have to cut out parts of his shrubs in order to remove the bees undisturbed. He gave his approval and I went to work.
After a few cuts with my hand saw I was able to retrieve the swarm tightly encased on one of the limbs. I cut the limb and placed the swarm, limb and all, into a cardboard box I had in the back of my truck.
At the time I retrieved this hive, I had no place to keep them and I thought of Uncle Freddie. I knew he had an empty hive next to his garden. I needed to talk to him right away and I knew he was working at the parking lot of the funeral home.
As I approached the lot there was Uncle Freddie in his usual somber stance passing away the moments in deep thought and concentration between cars coming in for the next funeral.
As I approached his area he began to approach my truck. I began to roll down my window to talk to him when he suddenly noticed the swarm of bees frantically flying around in the bed of my truck.
His forehead wrinkled, his eyes got big as his lips began to pulsate in and out when he said "good God boy, what you got in the back of that truck!" I began to laugh, as I had never seen Uncle Freddie show such emotion. I began to realize just how amazed a guy could really be! I mean face it! Here you are minding your own business at the parking lot of a funeral home, when this nut drives up to you with a load of angry honey bees flying around in an open cardboard box! I don't know what kind of reaction I expected from him, but I did get a kick out of his facial expressions.
I delivered the bees to his house, but after several months they decided to leave. I guess they made a beeline out of the county for fear of another truck ride in a cardboard box.
More on Uncle Freddie next week.