I haven’t told you a tall-tale about my alter ego, Billy Bob, in quite some time. Part of this is probably due to Billy Bob being mostly out of commission during the Coronavirus shut down. Now that things are getting better, ole Billy Bob is back out and about.

Late one afternoon, while Billy Bob was relaxing on his back porch with a hot cup of coffee, he noticed an unusual sight. Underneath the railing around his porch, he saw two-or-three small-piles of sawdust. When he looked up to find where the sawdust might have come from, he found a perfectly drilled hole, about the size of his pinky finger, above each pile. He first suspected his double-first cousin, Booger Ray Bohannon, had slipped over there and drilled the holes just to aggravate him. You see, Billy Bob loves to do woodwork, but he didn’t have a drill press. He had been using a hand-held drill for making holes, because he was too cheap to buy the more expensive drill press. Booger Ray had laughed at his cousin and called him a tightwad. Billy Bob thought the holes in his porch were simply another way for Booger Ray to harass him. But then, much to his surprise, Billy Bob saw what he thought was a big bumble bee fly right into one of those holes. Then the bee came back out, flew right up in ole Billy Bob’s face, and flitted back and forth. Billy Bob braced himself for a sting, but it never happened and the bee flew away.

Later that week, Billy Bob visited Trade Day, up in Collinsville, Alabama. There he saw the weirdest little bird houses he had ever seen. When he inquired, the seller told him they were not bird houses but carpenter-bee traps. They had small wooden boxes with bored holes about ¼ inch in diameter on each side. Below those boxes hung a pint-sized Mason jar. The bees check in through the holes, drop down into the jar, and then can’t find their way out. Billy Bob thought, “That’s kind of the same thing Booger Ray and his family does when they come to my house to visit.”

Billy Bob learned that his boring visitors (the bees - not Booger Ray) were not bumble bees but carpenter bees. Then a most unusual thing happened…Billy Bob had a brilliant idea. Since he couldn’t afford a drill press for his woodshop, and since those carpenter bees drill perfectly shaped straight holes, he wondered if he could train those bees to bore holes where he needed them. He started building bee traps to sell. He advertised them as live, wood-boring drill presses! The only problem with this is that all the holes were approximately the same size. Since woodworkers often need different sized holes drilled, Ole Billy Bob had the bright idea of putting up some captured bees and feeding them for a while to fatten them up. He thought this would enable them to drill larger holes. You should have seen him trying to measure the back side of those bees…without getting stung.

What Billy Bob didn’t realize is that not all carpenter bees sting. They do drill holes in our exposed wood, but normally not so many as to cause structural damage. Those big-bad ones that fly in your face are males, but they are simply trying to intimidate us. They can’t sting, because only the females have stingers and they normally don’t sting. Most carpenter bees are harmless. The Apostle Paul said death for the Christian is like that. It has no stinger! (I Corinthians 15:55)

— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal weekend edition. Visit brobillybob.com for more information.

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