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Just a Hobby

 

I often tell people that this is "just a hobby", but I usually don't get an opportunity to elaborate. My comment is in reference to the following story, from my friend, Bill.

My friend and I were discussing the things that we enjoy and how they always fall second to demands of gainful employment. Somewhere into the conversation, Bill told me that everybody needs a hobby. It keeps you from pestering the wife on weekends and being in the way all of the time. It gives you something to talk about with her and with your friends.

You should get a hobby.

I thought about this for several weeks, but I couldn’t think of anything I’d like to do. I considered model planes, amateur radio, salt water aquariums, gardening, even working on old cars. Nothing excited me, except photography and electronics. So, next time I saw Bill, I asked him if he had a hobby.

Yep. I have a good hobby.

What is it?

I keep bees.

It didn't take long to realize that beekeeping would be better than keeping fish in an aquarium or gardening, or anything else I had considered. Bees don’t have to have their water changed. They don't require batteries. They don’t have to be fertilized and weeded. They forage for their own food, they pollinate flowers and crops, and they make honey that I could collect to eat and share. What a great hobby. When I asked him where he kept his bees, Bill told me that he kept them at his house. So I asked Bill if I could see his bees and get a feel for his hobby and what would be involved. He invited me to come over the following Saturday.

When I arrived at Bill’s house, he invited me in and told me we’d go look at the bees. I asked him where he kept them.

In the house.

In the house?

Yes. Come on and I’ll show you.

We walked to a spare bedroom in Bill’s house.

Bill, where are the bees.

In the closet.

In the closet?

Yeah. I’ll show you.

Bill went to the closet, and took a cigar box from the shelf.

You keep bees in a cigar box?

Sure.

Bill, how does that work.

He opened the box and showed me a pile of bees.

Bill, those bees are all dead.

Yeah.

Why are you keeping dead bees?

It’s just a hobby.

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Photography is just my hobby. I don't keep the negatives in a cigar box- they are all filed in envelopes by year or are digital and stored with backup. But, photography is not how I make my living or how I assess my contribution to society. It is not my best skill; at least I hope it isn't. I think I have some pretty good pictures, but I acknowledge that some of them may belong in a cigar box. It's OK. It's just a hobby.

 

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