Bill used to run the Bullseye shooting range in east Wichita, but about 15 years ago he got a notion to face one of his great fears. Bees scared him half to death, so he became a beekeeper, getting stung, getting tired and sweaty, getting stung some more.
The first time he set down his first hive on the ground when he got started, he said, he pulled the tape off the opening and ran like a scared little boy. But after that, the hobby became a business, and the business, when the bees became endangered, became something more profound.
He and Candy walked up to one of the hive boxes. They’d left the bee suits in the bed of the four-wheeler, and walked up to the box wearing shorts and T-shirts; Bill also wore a cowboy hat.
Bill removed bricks holding down the hive box lid, then slowly pulled the lid off, exposing thousands of honeybees, who ignored him and kept working around the golden yellow honeycombs they were making in the squares inside the box.
Bill leaned in, looked down inside the hive.
“Hello, girls,” he said.
©2013 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)