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THE HONEY BEES ARE DYING. That’s what the newspaper said. They keep disappearing. This has led apiologists (Bee scientists) to predict that soon we will no longer have peaches, seedless grapes, daffodils, espresso, hardware stores, college football, the London Philharmonic, or mommas. But I choose not to dwell on such headlines. Instead, I think about Newton’s Law.
Newton Granger, or “Newt” as he is known to most, is a short order cook from Carrollton, Georgia. After his wife died five years ago, he took a job at a local greasy spoon just to have somewhere to go and someone to talk to in the evenings.
A few months back, he was taking out the trash at the end of his shift when he saw something moving out of the corner of his eye. It was a paper-thin dog with a coat so wiry it could have been made of corkscrews. Newt noticed that it was nosing the dumpster in an odd way, hunting for food. He got closer, but the dog didn’t seem to notice. “It was blind and deaf,” said Newt. “Most pitiful creature I’d ever seen.”
Newt eased up behind it and picked it up. “Smelled so bad,” he said. “Like it ain’t never known bathwater. And it was so starved it felt like I was holding a sack of dominoes.” But he wrapped it up in his apron and laid it in the passenger’s seat of his truck and took it home. “Nothin’ deserves to be treated thataway,” said Newt.
Newt bathed him, cut knots from his coarse fur, and pulled ticks from his ragged ears. Then he made him his specialty–a double cheeseburger with bacon and a fried egg on top.
“He ate two of em!” Newt said, laughing. “After a while, he smelled his way over to my recliner and crawled up in my lap. I prolly pet the poor fella for three solid hours. I remember needin’ to pee, but I didn’t get up cause’ I didn’t wanna wake him.”
When Newt finally did decide to get up and go to bed, the dog had gone still and easy. And its calm eyes had rolled back into its head. “I ain’t gonna lie,” said Newt. “I cried. I cried like I had owned him my whole life.” Newt said it was nice having another heartbeat around the house, even if it was just for a few hours. “And I’m glad that I could at least make his last day a decent one.”
The honey bees may be dying. Sometimes it looks like the whole world may be headed to hell before breakfast. But then I remember people like Newt. Maybe that’s one way we keep it all from crashing. Living every day with our eyes open, and saying about those around us, “It may be their last day; I’m gonna do my best to make it a decent one.”
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