chelsea cookAs most of you will remember, even though I hardly mention it, but I try to raise bees. When I first heard about classes for beekeeping I immediately signed up even though I was told and hinted at being too old to start something as new and as different as that. So, naturally I listened to all the advice and ignored it and became a beekeeper. One man, who was older than me, encouraged me by his work with bees as he had so many hives he didn’t know or care how many there really were there. Plus having a beautiful place for many, many hives, he had them scattered around Tulsa county at friend’s places. Once when I went with Carl to get a starter hive I purchased, we went into a beautiful tree lined, V-shaped apiary that had so many white bee boxes on either side of the V that I didn’t even bother trying to count them. So, naturally, I asked him how many hives were there. He said, with a wry, old grin, “I don’t know,” and he left it hanging like that.
Carl and his wife Euvonne started the Northeastern Beekeepers Association several years ago.  He told me once about the few who attended meetings back in the early days. Under Carl’s and Euvonne’s steady hand the club has grown to become a large organization, using organization loosely, and have even added an African connection.. Beekeepers come from every walk of American life and are about as independent as their hives. Naturally, since Carl was the man of the family I assumed he was the knowledgeable one. Who would have ever thought that a wife would know much about keeping bees? Then an incident happened one day that changed my mind about that. Wellsir, the incident and later hearing Carl ask Evonne some questions told me that maybe theirs was an equal partnership.
My very first hive got too big and, of course, got crowded. When hives get too crowded some smart alec in there decides it is time to go somewhere else so they get a gang together and go find a new home. As thousands of bees were flying in circles around my backyard, my first thought was to call Carl to see what to do. Standing next to a small maple tree surrounded by thousands of flying, stinging insects was not covered in the classes. But Euvonne told me what I should do because Carl wasn’t home. Now, since I had not been able to talk directly to Carl, I was somewhat hesitant in doing anything. Jump ahead and I talked to THE man who was in charge of all the bee business in the State of Florida. I have former student to thank for that hookup, so THANKS, Nancy. This man told me the same thing Euvonne told me so the team of Carl and Euvonne were spot on.
Carl’s influence has extended all throughout this community even though it is not apparent. The members of this bee club are involved in helping many organizations, schools and events. Members volunteer to host a booth at the Tulsa State Fair, the County Free Fair and many, many other places and events. Doing live demonstrations at schools is a large part of the volunteers’ program. In fact, there are so many activities the club gets involved with that very few in the club could even know or name. All this because Carl and Euvonne decided that “we” needed to help each other learn about the bee and how the bee helps us.
I do not want to give the wrong impression,bees are not the only thing Carl was involved with and interested in but that was my main association with him. There were several organizations he belonged to and helped with that I was not a part of. They will also miss him. He had many friends and former business associates who will miss his wisdom and kindness. He has children and other family who will miss his wit and guidance.Our club will miss his knowledge as anytime a question was discussed that could not be totally decided,the president always asked Carl and that was that. case closed.  Euvonne is gone, Carl is gone but they will remain a part of us forever.