The elusive wannabees. No, not the Brazilian African Honey Bee invading America via grapefruit transported innocently across the Mexican American border at the Matamoras/Brownsville crossing by a sixtyish matron dressed in a pressed jean skirt carrying a paper bag on her way to the bus stop where a city bus will pick her up and deposit her at a sprawling ranch home. The bee will fly out when she puts the bag on the kitchen table and grabs the fruit to rinse it off before slicing the coral orb. Around the corner and down the hall to the last bedroom, the home’s occupants will wake to the piercing smell of fresh cut grapefruit which will be set out in cereal bowls on breakfast linens accompanied by serrated grapefruit spoons and fresh hot coffee set on a well-polished mahogany dining table in a beige dining room diffused with the early rays of a Texas morning falling through paned windows onto the flat beige carpet that runs throughout the 3500 square foot home.
Eating a section of grapefruit, the man chews the semi-sweet fruit while reading the headlines of the morning paper, which jump out in big black letters Elusive Wanna Bees Invade America. A type-o, he says, out loud to the other person at the table who is engrossed in watching Good Morning America on the TV which has sat on the sideboard in the dining room ever since a silver and white anniversary present was unwrapped three years.
Yes, she says, dabbing her nose with a breakfast napkin where the juice of a wild spurt leapt from the mother fruit and the biting edges of the serrated grapefruit spoon. She places the linen napkin back in her lap, relieved to know Joan Lunden won’t catch her with grapefruit juice splashed across her washed but unmade face. While the couple finish their grapefruit and toast, the morning program dives into the topic of “Wanna Bees” with an expert who has recently published the book Wanna Bees or Will Bees : A Self Help Guide which will be in bookstores next week.
Oh, I get it, she says, not even noticing a bee perched on her grapefruit shell, instead brushing toast crumbs into her napkin with the unconscious precision developed over years of cleaning up after men and children and dry, unbuttered toast, a light sweeping action by a hand beginning to tighten up, with nails tipped in a classic shade of pink beige which is slightly chipped after the previous day’s gardening, putting out new tomato plants for her famous chicken salad stuffed tomatoes served on lettuce leaves for a luncheon with intimate friends who will linger after the last Club cracker is gone, sitting back in the mahogany dining room chairs talking about new grandchildren over the tinkling of ice cubes melting in sparkling crystal as sugar and lemon are splashed together with a long, slender ice tea spoon indigenous to a proper silver place setting which is included in the dowry of every proper Southern bride or wrapped in a soft blue felt bag tied with string waiting in a dark drawer in a side board owned by a much-loved grandmother who no longer drinks ice tea.
A much-loved grandmother who never worries about wanna bees invading her home. She just is where she is, every day and that is enough. She doesn’t know her granddaughter lies in bed at night dreaming of what she wants to be, glancing at the clock as the hour changes, less time left to sleep before the baby wakes. Not ready to get up and not ready to quit thinking, the new mother never realizes or stops to remember that a year ago she lay in the same brass bed feeling the movement of the baby close to her heart, wanting to be a mother, ready to be a mother. A year later, an evening’s entertainment is spent sorting through old magazines tearing out pretty pictures of perfectly decorated rooms that she wants to have someday. Another torn out stack of recipes she wants to prepare and taste someday. The baby sleeps but rolls over, a little foot moves against her lullaby lambie-pie turning a wind up key into a brief sleepy note or two, assuring that the baby is still breathing and moving quietly under her blanket. In the next room, the granddaughter/ new mother lying awake in the dark, rearranging furniture and picking paint color for the inspiration needed to clean out the extra bedroom now piled with everything which was in the nursery – the exercise bike, the card table, the broken club chair, two milk crates full of albums which don’t sound good anymore because of the strange crackle in the right speaker sitting on the dresser missing a leg but propped up with a textbook from the bookcase full of used textbooks which is next to the old broken down sleeper sofa used for company.
Three hours distance down a two lane highway running into a town overpassing the train tracks, taking the third left road which travels on the west side of the big white two-story house the much-loved grandmother “who just is every day and that is enough” is lying in her bed listening to the clocks in four different rooms chiming at four varied times the same early morning hour. The tick tock chants “go to sleep” but she ignores the clock which came from her girlhood home. Bats. Wasps. But the wanna bees have never invaded her home. She is elegant and simple, simply elegant with a quiet style which doesn’t need flash to be noticed. She hasn’t needed wanna bees.
The granddaughter hangs pictures in her sleep on newly painted walls - by spring. And something clicks while she’s lying there next to a snoring husband. Your wanna bees should be where you are right now. The self-acceptance of “just being where you are every day and that is enough,” like the much-loved grandmother who has been chanted to sleep by the tick tock of her clock sitting across the room on a maple dresser by the door. A good role model for solid guidance, instead of reading in the newspaper or hearing on the TV while you wipe grapefruit from your chin that wanna bees have invaded America.