Sunday, October 14, 2012

500 lbs. of beeswax: No. 5

I stand by the side of the road in downtown Pelkie singing softly while waiting for the truck that's bringing my fifth load of 500 lbs. of beeswax.
Oh oh the Wells Fargo Wagon is a'
comin' down the street
Oh please let it be for me
pelkie, michigan
Coming into downtown Pelkie.
I blame my parents for the musical upbringing and for having, at times, a show tune in my head and for imagining, at other times, if only, oh, if only we could all break into song and dance, wouldn't that be fun? And enduring the embarrassment of friends shunning me when I pop on Bye Bye Birdie, amazed they've never seen it, it's so good, so much fun, and I've revealed too much of myself once again, or maybe I'm with the wrong crowd.

The road is straight and narrow as a one-track mind and if there's a crowd it's purely apparitional. Downtown Pelkie has a post office, a credit union, a defunct co-op, a smattering of houses, a building for fire and rescue equipment, and Jerry's Auto Repair, which is usually open by late morning, but for some reason, not today.

pelkie, michigan
According to this sign, the co-op once provided food,
hardware, and clothing.
On the north end of town is the Baraga County Fairgrounds and the brick, two-story Pelkie Elementary School. Go another half-mile and there's the old schoolhouse, open for sightseeing on Sundays in the summer.

schoolhouse pelkie michigan
Pelkie's historic one-room schoolhouse.
In the past, I have driven to Beulah, Michigan, just south of Traverse City, to pick up the raw material I work with to make candles - the sweet beeswax from an apiary called Sleeping Bear Farms. But the last trip entailed an overnight stay in a cheap motel with my old dog, Buster. That was stressful, and then there's the expense. I asked about shipping the wax and found it would cost less than a road trip, but only if shipped to a commercial address.

So I'm standing on the side of the road by Jerry's Auto Repair in downtown Pelkie singing show tunes.
It could be curtains, or dishes, or a double boiler
Or it could be, yes it could be ...
Something special ...
Just for me!
Ever since my arrival in Pelkie a year ago, Jerry has been working on my 2004 Dodge Caravan. Last fall he got me into new snow tires, then, in the spring, a new set of summer tires. He's replaced the muffler and radiator and a broken tail light cover that I had kept together with duct tape since December 2010, but which blew apart one day this past summer along M-28 as I headed home from the farmers market. At that point I made a new cover from red duct tape and clear plastic, but soon I was struck dumb by my obsession with thriftiness and called Jerry. There's been a lot of brake work, including cleaning and replacing pads and things, and of course routine oil changes, a new headlight bulb, and now it looks like another radiator replacement. When I asked Jerry about using his shop's address for the beeswax drop, he said no problem.

upper peninsula michigan
Jerry's Auto Repair.
So I'm standing by the side of the road in downtown Pelkie and the truck with the beeswax arrives on schedule. It pulls off the road near my van and lets go a big gassy sigh. The driver hops down from the cab, rolls up the cargo door, dollies the plastic-wrapped boxes of wax over to the door, strips off the plastic, opens the boxes, and hands me blocks of beeswax. One box was light enough for him to carry, and another we moved together, into my van, after relieving it of a few pounds.

raw beeswax in van
Wax in the van.
Later, I think it was Friday, we had a nice sunset.

upper peninsula sunset
View from a porch.

Other Tales of Beeswax Acquisition
500 lbs. of beeswax
2,000 lbs. of beeswax