Vincent Ranch, Hamilton, Montana, 1914
The Bee Story 1931
As Told By Frank Edward Vincent (Junior)
Vincent Ranch, Hamilton, Montana
Maybe it was sibling rivalry. Here was little brother getting all the praises and smiles and it seemed all I could get were scolds and scorns. Sure, I had been our stomping in the mud, feeling the ooze around my tiny feet. It was the ultimate learning experience. So, that summer day in 1931 our on the lawn there could have been some vengeance in mind.
At three, Herbie was already brimming with charm. In his innocent eyes, no one compared to his big brother. Where there was Junior (Frank) there was little Herb. The seven years between them was just enough for Junior to be a fine teacher, or so he figured. Generally speaking, they were good buddies, but even good buddies test the waters as it were.
The honeysuckle in bloom brought out the best of the early summer. An ever so slight Montana breeze through the lush Bitterroot Valley softened the heat of the afternoon. The two boys played on the porch at the ranch about 30 or so yards from the flower garden. Mom (Flossie) nurtured lovely flowers giving them almost as much attention as darling Herbie received.
Junior had an idea, “Let’s see how cute little Herbie is when he gets hurt.” The wheels in his creative mind were spinning with the exciting web. He almost laughed out loud.
“Herbie,” Junior called with eagerness in his voice. “Ha, this will show him.” “Herb, go bring me one of those bees over there in the flowers.
“Okay, Junior,” squealed the child who could barely speak. Obediently he toddled across the grass, reached out his pudgy hand, picked up a bee and returned.
Junior waited uncomfortably. Any minute now Herbie is going to let out a scream…come on. Nothing.
Walking deliberately toward his older brother delighted that he could please him. Herbie approached with hand in a fist, wrist up, and slightly towards Junior who was decisively baffled. “Did you get it?” Junior dared to ask. He must have picked up a box elder bug or something else instead. Or, could the bee have a broken stinger. Hmm, this could be interesting Junior pondered. “Let me see it.”
Herbie carefully released the insect into Junior’s hand at the very moment the bee determined that this was enough of this handling business.
“EEEYOW!” yelped Junior. It sure enough was a bee and a very smart bee at that. Junior thought, “no more pranks on Herbie” and they became instant collaborators for life.
Our Dad, Herb Vincent, always enjoyed telling stories of growing up on the family ranch in Hamilton, Montana. One of his favorite stories involved a bee and his older brother, Frank (Junior). Frank Vincent was seven years older than Herbie and loved to tease him. Once when they were behind their home on the ranch, Frank saw Herbie, who was about 3 years old, playing with a bee. Always inquisitive, Frank, who was 10, wondered why the bee didn't sting Herbie, so he instructed Herbie to bring him the bee to him. The bee immediately stung Frank! Later in life Frank and Herb loved to tell this story and would laugh like it was the first time either of them had heard it.
Submitted by Robert Vincent
June 7, 2020
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