Monday, July 28, 2003

Today's tale: In which The Ivy exacts its revenge.

I've never had poison ivy before. I didn't know how dead serious my Girl Scout leader was when she told me, "Leaves of three, let it be!"

Book the First
The first time my younger brother came over to our newly purchased house, he pointed out a section of the yard and remarked on the nice crop of poison ivy. That can't be poison ivy! I thought. The illustrations of poison ivy plants in my Girl Scout Handbook are very small and leafy. These large stalks are nearly as tall as the trees growing nearby. Besides, little brothers are stupid.

The Ivy narrowed its eyes and waited.

Book the Second
"We ought to do something about those weeds along the fence," said husband.

Book the Third
Wearing nothing more than a tank top and shorts (and a pair of gardening gloves, to be on the safe side), I removed the weeds. It was quite satisfying work, pulling them up by the roots and watching the pile accumulate. When I was done, the fence looked fabulously weed-free and I called over oldest daughter to help me stuff the weeds into yard waste bags.

She whined her way out of it. I gathered up big bunches, and The Ivy clutched and caressed my exposed skin as I carried it across the yard to the bags.

Book the Fourth
"What do you suppose this small, reddish bump on my arm could be?" I asked myself.

I could have sworn I heard the echo of The Ivy's voice answering, "Why, you're looking down the barrel of 3 weeks of misery, my ivy-pulling little friend. And just when you think it's going away, a rash will sprout up somewhere else. You'll never be rid of us!"

I'm never going out in my yard again, never never again. And I've also arranged to have the first layer of my skin surgically removed and replaced with a synthetic material that's impervious to all allergens and irritants.

The End

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