On the last Monday of morning of May just after the sun came up and the dew had dried off the rose petals, I ventured out to the front porch, coffee in hand, plopped my carcass down onto our cherished Rufus Harrison platform swing and promptly began sneezing so hard that I feared my nose might leave my face.
Between sneezes I noticed little puffs of something fuzzy, about the size of my little fingernail or a tad smaller, floating like tiny kites on the barely-stirring breeze.
Trying to catch a piece of it proved to be impossible, thanks mostly to Mr. Parkinson’s extremely limited eye-hand coordination, but it looks like tiny down feathers from fledging birds and a bit like that fuzzy stuff that comes off sycamore leaves when they first commence budding out in March.
In any event, it is much smaller than the dreaded thistle seeds that similarly fly about in early summer looking for places to land so that they can maximize the aggravation they cause to lawn keepers and gardeners. And, if there is a seed attached or enclosed in this stuff, it is far too miniscule for the naked eye to discern.
In any event, be it animalgenerated or plant shedding, I am terribly allergic to whatever it is.
However, less than 30 minutes after popping one of those little green, Dollar General, allergy pills that say, in fine print, “compare to Allegra” on the bottle and cost way less than half the price of the real thing, the sneezing subsided and my nose is still intact.
In fact, I find most of that “compare to“ whatever patent medicine works as well as the brand name stuff and only costs a small fraction of the prices attached to the brand names. Call me a tightwad if you must, but if I had a million dollars I would still purchase the cheaper stuff if it seems to work as well as the real thing. The biggest difference, it seems to me, is that I don’t have to pay top dollar for all that national advertising that gets included in the price of big name brands.
While we are on the subject of allergies, at least that’s approximately how we started out, allow me to tell you about another strange phenomenon.
When I was a little fellow before I started school, I got into a mess of poison ivy that grew on a huge, wedge-shaped, sandstone boulder that we called “the big rock”. I’ve actually seen smaller houses with people living in them than “the big rock”.
It was the closest thing, other than our big barn, that I ever had for a playhouse or tree house, but the top of it was covered with a mass of poison ivy which my mom cautioned me to stay away from. However, I paid scant attention to her dire warnings and got so covered with poison ivy blisters that, I’m told, caused my parents to fear for my life. The part I remember being terrorized about is that my eyes were swollen shut.
Needless to say, I did survive, after learning the hard way, to avoid the stuff.
Several years later, some high school classmates and I were landscaping and pulling weeds around a building when we got into a dense patch of poison ivy before we realized it was there. Everybody, except yours truly, broke out in rashes on their arms and legs as though they all had severe cases of chicken pox but I never got a single welt.
I later discovered that I can, indeed, pull it up, roots and all, and never get the faintest itch. In fact, I’ve done that so often that a few times Loretta has broken out in hives just from handling my clothing that had been exposed to poison ivy.
I am halfway convinced that the near-lethal episode in my early childhood somehow made me immune to poison ivy. At least I have no other explanation.
In the meantime, if anyone has any idea what this stuff is in the air right now, I’d really like to know because I am most certainly not immune to it. My email address is: email@example.com.