While searching for veggie oil in the Midwest, I met a
tall, trim old white guy who has been collecting, cleaning, and running used veggie oil for almost 30
years – he told me he’s turning 80 years old this fall. He was bowlegged and
slightly bent, a beige cowboy hat jammed over a shock of white and grey hair, a
tucked in long sleeved checkered shirt and worn bluejeans held up beneath a little pot
belly by a leather belt sporting a huge vintage steer horns silver buckle.
He looked like he’d be at home in the wild wild west several
decades past – and not particularly welcoming to “my kind”. But he was,
welcoming that is and he even thought he & I were seeing eye-to-eye.
Hmmmm – it was his poor 80 year old eye sight (he didn’t
want to put on his glasses) that made him read one of my bumper stickers as “against
abortion”. We had a good laugh, at least I did, when I read the rest of it to
him: “get a vasectomy”. But he was quick to assure me he believes in everyone’s
right to be different!
We then moved to talking about the environment and he
told me a sad story about his bees. He said he was a registered bee keeper in
the state of Illinois – which meant farmers had to inform him if and when they
were going to spray their fields with pesticides.
He said one morning he heard the low rumble of pesticide
planes and dashed out his home, jumped on his motorcycle and found where the
planes were taking off from. Sure enough, they were spraying a farm down the road from his.
When he approached the foreman, showed him his registered
bee keeper paper, informed him of his obligation to notify bee keepers
BEFORE they sprayed, and asked him to stop, my bee keeper elder said the
foreman just laughed at him.
And all his bees died.