Archived Story

Poison ivy: It’s wherever you might want to be

Published 10:53am Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club meeting:

“Do you know who I am?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Have you ever seen me before?”

“I don’t believe so.”

“Then how do you know that I’m me?”

I’ve learned

1. A friend is someone who will pick you up when you fall — after he is done laughing.

2. Sunrises are no more beautiful than sunsets, but they are less crowded.

3. That my mind and the mirror often disagree as to what I should wear.

My neighbor

My neighbor says that he doesn’t mind when names escape him nearly as much as he minds how much time he has to spend chasing them. He asked me how he could identify a poison ivy plant. It’s quite simple. I told him that if he were walking in the woods and he stumbled over a tree root, the vine that he reached for to keep from falling would be poison ivy.

Never let the truth…

… Get in the way of a good story

My wife and I were in a hotel room located in a small town in Alaska. The lobby of the hotel displayed a signed photo of Billy Ray Cyrus. Cyrus is famed for the song, “Achy Breaky Heart.” It’s one of those lutefisk songs. Like lutefisk, people either love or hate the song. I told my wife that our room was the same room that Billy Ray Cyrus had stayed in. She didn’t share my belief.

One night, I found a crumpled piece of paper that had even shoved under a leg of the desk in an attempt to disable a wobble. I carefully unfolded the creased paper. On that paper, was handwritten the following, “Achy Breaky Pancreas. Achy Breaky Spleen. Achy Breaky Lung. Achy Breaky…”

Billy Ray Cyrus had been trying to write a new song in our hotel room.

My wife still doesn’t believe me.

Thrilling days of yesteryear

I tried to watch cowboys whenever possible. Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, Gunsmoke, The Lone Ranger, The Rifleman, Have Gun Will Travel, Lash LaRue, Maverick, Rawhide, etc. Each hero, other than Lash LaRue who favored a whip, used six-shooters, which were pistols that never needed reloading. You could tell the good guys from the bad guys by the color of hat they wore. I wanted to be Roy Rogers, wear a white hat, and ride Trigger about the countryside saving cities like Grand Meadow, Frost, and Matawan from black hat-wearing bad guys. I knew that if I became Roy that I’d have to kiss Dale Evans on occasion, but it was a price I was willing to pay.

Sleeping at the fair

A church in Hartland operated a food stand at the county fair for many years. One of the volunteer workers, Kernel Knudson, worried about theft or vandalism, so he slept nights in that building during the fair. When he married Beth, he did so during the time that the county fair was running. While on his honeymoon, Kernel sent a postcard to those at home that read, “This is much more fun than sleeping at the fair.”

Nature notes

The day was a Where’s Waldo? book and I was Waldo. Deerflies found me. They are about the size of houseflies and are mostly yellow, brown, or black with varying stripes. Deerflies have brilliantly colored eyes, ranging from gold to green and their wings are usually marked with dark patterns. The females bite humans and animals in order to obtain a blood meal to feed their eggs. The males feed on pollen and nectar. Deerflies are most likely to attack on warm sunny days. Deerflies are attracted to dark moving shapes, carbon dioxide, and warmth. They use their knife-like mouthparts to slice the skin and feed on the blood pool created. They inject an anti-coagulant into the bloodstream while feeding. To reduce exposure to bites, it is best to wear light-colored clothing and cap.

Meeting adjourned

Nothing haunts like a kindness undone. Be kind.

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