The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 65

MARRIAGES |BIRDS AND BEES

Marriage?

The Birds and the Bees, and a Wagon
BY BRYAN PAIEMENT

AT FIRST GLANCE, she appears much older than
she really is. We've been together for a decade and although my family members have taken it upon themselves to feel embarrassed for me-being with her at her
age and weathered body-I stay. They tell me this has
gone on long enough, that it's time, but I'm just not
ready to say goodbye. At this point in her life, there's
significant leakage-so much that she must sleep on an
absorbent bed. Family members point out her flawed
body and odor as reasons enough for change. But we've
been through so much together-it's just not that simple, leaving her for a younger model.

The Subaru Forester's initial purpose was that of
transporter: an engine, some tires, seats- a set-up capable of taking me, now college graduate, as far from
Roanoke as possible. Claude Piche, who played hockey
for the Roanoke Valley Rebels in the '70s, found the
all-wheel drive wagon, a white 1999 model that I'd be
with day in and day out for the next 10 years of my life.
She handled New Mexico's high desert terrain with ease,
much more effectively than I did. She took me to Asheville for a year to enjoy the eclectic restaurants and the
breweries. Soon after our return to Roanoke, we met my
future wife, Dana. She had also just recently returned
to Roanoke after bolting the city after high school for
Colorado and then northern California for six years.
And Dana showed not the least jealousy. She quickly
put my wagon's hauling potential to use and soon I was
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driving back along Hardy Road toward our apartment
in Old Southwest with a back seat full of bees. One afternoon not long after that delivery, I went out to check
the hive for honey. The lid was stuck, sealed shut from
the bee's propolis, the glue-like substance they produce
to apparently keep novice beekeepers out of their home.
After a few more tugs, the lid popped off, which sent
the bees into a rage, their wrath delivered in penetrating
stings-seven of them-along my forearm and wrist. So
we sold the hive to a man from Franklin County, and
thankfully he picked the hive up in his truck, sparing
the Subaru.
After six years of renting in Old Southwest, we found
a simple but spacious ranch with a fenced backyard,
where, we decided, we wanted chickens. So a month
after moving into our house, I found myself glancing
back over my shoulder at a cardboard box, now clucking, as four hens rode with me in the Forester toward
their new home. I kept the Subaru at 60 mph on the
interstate-any faster and the wagon's engine would
convulse, sending reverberations throughout the door
panels and steering wheel, and now through the fowl
boxed in the back.
In addition to bees and chickens, the Forester has
seen a lot of the country-New Mexico, Colorado, New
Orleans-and has absorbed thousands and thousands of
miles and humored me as I sought out new stomping
grounds. I go easy on her now, really only driving her
to and from work at Wasena Elementary School, only
a few minutes from home.
Yet you can hear her age with every right turn; her
belts, her joints, worn, yet still functional. Every week
or so I have to refill her with 5W-30. She's home now,
in Roanoke, where we started our time together, and the
bi-weekly maintenance is a small price to pay for her
firing up with every turn of the ignition.
I took her for granted when I was younger, but now
I'm older, as is she, and realize the adventures she's
fostered. We've had a great run these 10 years of marriage, more than many human marriages can attest to
these days.
Dana and I know that soon I will have to say goodbye before welcoming a new wagon, one with enough
space for my wife to haul us in our next adventure in
Roanoke. I
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 | 65


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker September/October 2017

The Roanoker September/October 2017 - Intro
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - Cover1
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - Cover2
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 3
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - 4
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The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA1
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA2
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - RVA3
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The Roanoker September/October 2017 - Cover3
The Roanoker September/October 2017 - Cover4
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