Essentially Ashland: By Lance Pugh — I was quietly reading the newspaper when someone began beating on the front door, urging that I immediately jump into the front yard and focus on a pine tree that was humming with possibilities.

I was quietly reading the newspaper when someone began beating on the front door, urging that I immediately jump into the front yard and focus on a pine tree that was humming with possibilities.

Some say that I am continuously reviving the perils of Pauline, while I persist in asserting that I remain cool under pressure. What would you think if you saw Pauline rounding the corner being pursued by a thousand bees? Would that be a contrived event or a cause of legitimate concern?

I was alerted to a potential calamity, surveiled the location, pondered for a moment and then, made the right call, which was to my Bee Professional, who put the pedal to the metal, raced toward a swarm quickly approaching the size of a football at a height which would have hit me in the face, had I not the common sense to retreat back into the house and put on some heavier clothing. I covered my face with a fencing mask and put on heavy gloves before I again ventured out to confront a grist of bees intent on setting up a branch office.

I could only speculate as to the consequences should such an army of one-time stingers engage my nose. Though it might hurt, the visuals might, unfortunately, remain the same.

In only a few minutes a dozen neighbors gathered to join the fun, while a dozen cars stopped in the middle of the street as the event morphed into a circus of merriment. People were pointing as if identifying a suspect in a police line-up. Kids began to either laugh or cry and half the dogs in Ashland made a B-line to the item of interest.

The many hundreds of bees seemed to have arrived as a lump, glomming on to a lower branch of a Christmas tree that survived a host of decorations and spilled eggnog decades earlier. As I approached the incipient hive I ducked to avoid an incoming flight of bees swarming with supplies and their stingers ever-ready to protect and serve their queen.

I immediately bugged out.

There is every possibility that I brought this all upon myself. I do live on "B" Street and recently had my hair cut by Shady with instructions that I wanted to look like Sting. Despite these factors, I did not want to get stung. Maybe this was enough to invoke a swarm. I will never know.

A knock on the screen door announced the arrival of the master of aviaries, who with head gear in place seemed ready to spend a week or so on the International Space Station, which seems always to have a few bugs.

He approached the humming hive like Zeus, while I followed in his footsteps like a slithering snake, not wanting to taste the electric shrill of a proffered stinger. He soon had the queen transferred to a wooden hive and waited for her servants to wing their way to her bidding.

It only took a few minutes, but then we noticed a steady stream of buzzing emanating from the nearby large walnut tree. In a blink the beekeeper announced that the main hive was inside the tree and that I should expect another swarm soon, prompting me to slip into the house and make sure that all the doors and windows were shut tight against such a prospect.

I went into the kitchen and made some green tea, to which I added two dollops of honey, all while making a mocking bee face at the flight of fright that hovered outside.

"Hey, Stung, I like your new hair cut," were the last words I heard from my wife, Annette, as I locked the front door and lamented about how my honey could be so insensitive to my plight.

Lance@journalist.com was last seen firing up a bee smoker for self-defense, though the fire department was called to the potential conflagration. Give Lance a buzz by e-mail, but do not drone on.