The Beeswax Screen

Darn it, I missed the prompt “Screen” the other day and it fits so well with the story I’ve been thinking about putting down in print, before it’s lost forever. Maybe I did see the prompt but didn’t think of it, at first. It must have percolated: through to my subconscious, picking through the memory files, working it’s way out a day later.

Back when I was a bee-keepers wife and worked at a Farmer’s Market, there was an older Italian lady who would pick up a beeswax bar, smell it and smile.  It was only a dollar but she never bought one. She didn’t speak English so when she came, smelled it and smiled, we would just smile and nod at each other.

One day she came with her daughter who said, “My mom wants to tell you why she loves the smell of beeswax so much.”

She was from a small town in Italy. When a young married couple moved into their new home the local ladies would get together with cotton thread and beeswax. They cut the thread into strands the length and width of their doorway. Two on a thread, they ran all the strands back and forth through beeswax until they were thickly covered then working all together they wove a screen for their doorway to keep out flies. It was a happy time: they sang and gossiped.

They hung it in the kitchen door like a curtain and it lasted for years and years.  In the summer a breeze would flow through it and you could smell the beeswax. Whenever she came to the market she would pick up the beeswax bar and the smell would take her back to those happy times.

I was so touched my this story and so happy she took the time to get her daughter to tell me, I insisted she take a bar of beeswax. At first she wouldn’t but I said it was well worth such a great story.  Now I have that beautiful memory.