June 24th, 2012
Working on this chapter for new book
The Land of Milk and Honey
The other books we were allowed to read because it was written by a British author were the ones about Winnie the Pooh. First those stories were read to us, and then I read them to younger children. I very much liked them especially the focus on the bear and honey. I liked honey and we had bees at the Farm, but children were not allowed to eat honey. We had molasses; honey was reserved for adults or on special occasions, it was given to children that were sick. I could only fake sickness so much, eventually I wanted to go for a walk, so I had to get up. But I wanted honey. What was left, of course, was stealing the honey.
I felt that I shouldn’t have to steal honey. We were part of the children of Israel, part of the promised land. Weren’t we supposed to be the New Jerusalem, City on the Hill, living in Canaan? The children of Israel journeyed from Egypt to Canaan across the Sinai Peninsula a distance of about 230 miles which took them forty years. I asked many times in U.S. history class why it took forty years to cross the Sinai Desert and only four to eight months for the wagon trains to cover the 2000-3000 miles depending on where they started to get to the West Coast. The problem with God, as I found out time and again, was that God likes to dish out stories, but God does not like to answer questions.
But still, it made sense that we should have an abundance of honey. I liked it and clearly God did too or he wouldn’t have mentioned honey so many times in the Bible. Molasses wasn’t mentioned even once. The obvious place to start off stealing honey was the hives themselves. They were in the orchard and were usually un-guarded except by the bees. I gave it a few tries, but it was difficult to explain the hundreds of bee stings and frankly, the stings made me sick. That left stealing honey from the honey stores which I did when I had a chance which wasn’t often.
I never understood how Winnie the Pooh stopped eating honey long enough to get out of Rabbit’s hole. If it had been me, I would still be there. Children were in a special category for God. We had to work like adults, but we didn’t get honey. We didn’t get to sleep in beds or bathe privately. Adults weren’t beaten; that was only for children. I did not want to be an adult; however, there were no good or kind adults. What I wanted was to be a child with access to honey. Like Winnie the Pooh.
The problem is that I was not a small bear. As children, we were seen as extra baggage that our parents had unloaded and the counselors caring for us wanted as little to do with as possible. And we hardly banded together. Friendships didn’t come easily. We were always in danger of betrayal.
I came to believe that I would never achieve the land of milk and honey. That I was going to go to hell no matter what and if that was the case, I might as well leave. On the outside maybe I’d get my full share of honey. Maybe I’d have my own horse to ride, my own bed to sleep in, maybe I’d have privacy. Maybe no one would beat me or jeer at me. I had to find out.
And George preached that heaven was the only true place of happiness. We had to be willing to give up all happiness and love on Earth so that we could have it in heaven. Jesus had died on the cross so we could be happy in heaven. Well, given my close relationship with the devil, I was pretty sure I was going to be like the children of Israel who died in the forty years of walking around in 230 miles. I was going to spend my whole life on the 1000 acres, give or take some acres, being miserable and then I still wouldn’t go to heaven. It just wasn’t the Hundred Acre Wood where Winnie the Pooh lived. So I’d get no honey here and no honey there. I wanted my honey. And that’s a lot of the reason that I finally figured out that I was going to have to leave. To get me some honey before it was too late and I was dead anyway and hadn’t gotten to have anything but molasses. Molasses on toast. Molasses on eggs. Molasses on grapefruit. I was sick to death of molasses. I was going to make it outside the Farm and have a whole hive of bees making honey just for me. And I’d eat the honey, comb and all. I would chew it and I’d say, “Look Lord, I got this honey myself. I’m not waiting for some future land. It’s here and now. In my mouth.”