Friday, April 27, 2012
Rolling in the Grass meant Chiggers in your A**
Some kids never learned that a few fun things sometimes should not be done again and again. Like when my brother "allowed" me the first jump into the stagnant water of the gravel pits, I finally figured out, I was the test subject to make sure it was deep enough to be safe. It he took me, I would jump first, feeling like a star as his friends watched me fall the 30 feet to the water. Same with playing barefoot in the summer. I don't think I wore shoes execpt when I was in church. I can recall going to school barefoot once, must have been the first day of school and I just forgot. Even in my little town they expected me to wear shoes so I had to walk back home to get a pair before I could get back into class. Rolling down hills in cool grass on hot summer days was a favorite pass time for us kids. It was always a race and always hoping we didn't roll on a honey bee. Afterwards we would sit and hunt for 4 leaf clovers (I never found one, ever!). I would occationally do the very girly thing of tying long stem clovers together to wear as a necklace or crown. I tried to keep the girl stuff to a minimum because I played with boys. The only girl around was my cousin/sister, she didn't like rolling in the grass or having tree climbing contests. The bad part of this was the Ozarks held an abundance of chiggers and ticks. If we stayed in the grass, we typically only had the fire breathing tiny red bugs that loved those tight spots, like the waist band area of shorts and back sides we sat on while resting. THE WORST PLACE to have to scratch when adults were around! As it neared dark, us kids had to head home. Back in the day, we could be gone all day long, walk the few blocks to the center of town where there were acutal water fountains outside the drug store or barber shop. If we got thirsty when playing in a field, we would just walk to the nearest house and turn on the water hose, wait for the scalding water to become more drinker friendly and fill 'er up. It didn't take long for Mamaw or Papaw to see me scratching where the red devils were attacking, welts grew on my arms and legs and I kept digging with my nails. Soon, I would hear a bath being drawn and smell the bleach. My grandparents solution to killing the chiggers making THEM uncomfortable watching me scratch was to put me in a tub of cold water with laundry bleach added. I shiver now as I think about how I could not complain that this never worked, it only made my skin burn more and the smell made it seem like I was in a tub of bleach with water added. My Mamaw would stand over me to make sure I stayed in the tub and my entire body was submurged. I guess I should be grateful she didn't hold my head under but then again, I never scratched my head, my a** was on fire so that's were I focused my own attack. Learning from mistakes has never been a strong suit of mine. I must have smelled like bleach for days afterwards and wondered if any of my friends had to do the same. We never discussed this, as far as I can recall. No matter how horrible the itching and bleach water baths were, they were never bad enough to stop me the next time my friends said, "Let's roll race to the bottom of this hill." I would slam my body flat against the grass and start my trip to the bottom of the hill, watching the sky and grass switch places rapidly. As soon as I could gain footing, I would stagger up the the hill to go on my next run.