This story was originally published in Oct 2007. Tonight I went back to visit the friends who helped me step into adulthood. Seeing them always reminds me of the time I met Dave.
The year I turned 19, I tried to inconspicuously insert myself into the life of a guy I was obsessed over. I thought I was subtle, but we all know I am as subtle as a punch to the ovaries. That spring a friend and I travelled to his small town to stay with friends of our family with the guise of "seeing a small town rodeo".
I never went to the rodeo. Instead, I helped the family tear down a shed on their property. They had a ton of people in to visit and help with the demo and, trying to prove my worth, I got in there and went to work. I loved it. In fact, I discovered how much I loved ripping something that was something into tiny bits of somethings that are actually nothing. This would explain my dating life actually.
While I was helping tear the crap out of that shed, I never noticed an older man watching me. Not in a creepy way (or at least, not that I noticed!) but with interest in the fact a girl could work so hard, so efficiently and show up every guy there. (That was my plan to woo my prey - show him what a work horse I was. With that, and the plumber's butt because I forgot my belt, I am surprised he was never mine.) When I was done, the old man wandered up to me and commented on my hard work.
Thanks, I said.
Do you want a job? I could use someone like you.
He seemed like a nice old man - mid 60's, snow white hair, a bushy beard, Tilly hat and red suspenders. He had the start of a belly hanging over the edge of his jeans, but looked like he'd out in a lot of hard work in his day. He seemed harmless enough.
It was about two hours later that I finally asked what I had been hired for. He introduced me to his wife (a Southern belle who was an English scholar) and advised her he had hired me to work on his bee farm as his sole employee. They were originally from Florida and spent the summers in Northern Saskatchewan making honey.
Later that summer, my family packed me up and drove me to meet them. I was so afraid - it was my first time away from home and I had always been home - I cried, Mom cried, we all cried. It was anarchy. When Mom and Dad and the rest of the family left, Lyn said that if we were all so sad I was going, I just shouldn't go.
I worked for 4 summers on that farm. I lived with Dave and his wife and became their surrogate summer daughter. He taught me how to work the hives, what to know about the bees, how to build a deck, mow a lawn and build a boat launch. They were my friends. I learned to like foreign films and weird food. They learned... well, I'm not sure what they learned. When they retired and left for Florida for good, we cried again.
I visited them in Florida on and off for a few years. I still think of them fondly every time I tell Lyn to "Go ahead" and she replies (as Dave used to do) "Did you call me a goat head?".