Bear-shaped Bottle

I took out my little bear-shaped honey bottle from the cupboard…

I walked over to where my mug sat, empty-mouthed staring up at me expectantly, as if to say; “fill me please!” The water is whistling for me as the little boy across the street whistles for his retriever. 

“OK, I’m coming!” I pour the steaming water onto my apple spice tea; flip the lid open on my bear-shaped honey bottle. I pour the non-artificial sweetener into my tea. I feel some of the sticky substance on my finger; instinctively I lift it to my mouth, deliciously sweet! 

With the aroma of apples and spice lifting up to my nostrils, my thoughts begin drifting back to that beautiful afternoon, driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway, with the family. 

Man, were we hungry! 

But, every spot was taken. It seemed like everyone from the rat race of city life had the same idea. The constant chant from the little mouths “when are we going to stop? I’m hungry…” was similar to that of a scratched phonograph record. 

“Just a little while longer,” I said, trying to suppress my growing impatience, as well as that of Granny’s in the back seat. 

Please dear God, lead us to a place to park this car and to eat! 

Suddenly ahead, could it be? There it was, to our right, an unbelievably refreshing sight, the perfect table for the spread. I stopped the car! 

“Quick, everyone out! Grab the basket… grab the table cloth and drinks!”

Thank you Lord! 

Oh the joy!

There we were, seated around, holding hands as we said grace. It was picture perfect, heaven-sent, and reminiscent of some scene from the Waltons. 

Just then, mom cried out; “Careful, a bee!” 

“It’s just one little honeybee” I said. “Just leave it alone, it’ll go away. Pass the chicken and some bread.” 

Then… our little friend had a little friend that joined him, now there were two little bees. 

The kids were now swatting at them… as was Granny. “No, don’t do that! Just leave them alone and eat!” 

Then there were six or eight flying around our paper picnic plates… stealing drinks from the Styrofoam cups. 

We then became deeply concerned for the first eight bees had summoned … eight more, and then came more and more and... 

Quick everyone…. grab the basket! Grab the tablecloth! Leave the drinks right where they are. Hurry, hurry, back in the car! Roll up the Windows…” man, what a day! Sure never thought things would go this way. 

Safe now, but disappointed as we pulled back onto the road. I mumbled; “Those honey bees had spoiled it all!”

Such determined creatures that would go to any length to make that pure non-artificial sweetener. You had to give them their dues. 

I nonchalantly glanced back in my rearview, forgive me Lord, but I had to laugh. 

“Look," I told everyone in the car, "back behind us!” 

For, another family had an answer to their prayers. 

We all giggled as we drove away. 

Good luck, I thought, and have a nice day! 

It was a sweet memory indeed. I gave my apple-spice tea one final stir, took a swallow and smiled to myself…

Then I placed my little bear-shaped bottle back in the cupboard on the shelf.

© Loyd C. Taylor