3 July 2013

Bee Happy


Have you ever been swept away by a book and found that it reached your very soul, left you bereft and teary sometimes and then joyous, on a roller coaster ride of emotion the next- but you couldn’t put it down?  Were there remarkable likenesses of characters in the book to people in your own life?    “The Secret Life of Bees” was our book club read for June, 2013.   Its pages captured me straight away in a story about the loss of a parent, searching your whole life to fill that void and the joy at being accepted by a group of people who are not family, but become the family you never had.  

But what about the bees, you say?   What is charming about this book are the comparisons of insect life within the bee hive to the real relationships amongst the women in this story.   A very complex world lies amongst those layers of honeycomb!   The book is also a story of strength shown by a minority - black American women in the 1960’s,  who harvest honey under the brand name of “Black Madonna.”  They “adopt” Lily and her housemaid Rosaleen as they flee from Lily’s abusive father.    It is a wonderful literary mixture of grief and joy, love and acceptance.  A must read for women everywhere. 

A theme night was in order for our Book Club.  This is a monthly gathering of women of widely varying ages and backgrounds, which is no barrier, it seems to great friendship, laughter and of course discussion regarding the book.  (Please note:  wine is always on the menu!).    I happened to have my own Black Madonna (was this meant to be?).   A folk art piece I had displayed for many years as I love the American folk art style of decorating.  She wore a heart around her neck, described as a carved wooden heart in the book.   The statuesque version of Madonna was the centre of spiritual worship and prayers to the family in the book.  Candles were lit to set the “mood” for the evening on a tablecloth of yellow with black crochet doilies.   

I discovered delectable and sweet honey recipes online at the wonderful site of Capilano Honey.  The Honey Banana bread with melted butter was perfect for a cold night.  My chocolate cake (dairy free) for a lactose intolerant member was decorated with tiny bees, made from yellow jelly beans, striped with black icing and almond slivers for wings.  Do you know how many packets of jelly beans you have to buy just to get enough yellow ones? !    Not forgetting the Honey Joys, a favorite in the lunchbox when I was young. 

Honey Banana Bread
Joy oh Joy!  Honey Joys!
 As a take home gift, I bottled mini jars of honey complete with tags reading “Bee..Happy,” “Bee..autiful,”  “Bee..Loved,”  “Bee..Extraordinary,”  “Bee..Yourself...everyone else is taken!”   

Mmmm-Honey colors!

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