I was like a wild savage nomad as a child. Shirtless, shoeless and somehow always dirty. My mother always called me her little Ragamuffin, whatever that’s supposed to mean. I played games outside with all the other neighbor children, as kids used to in those days. However, with every adventure came a bit of risk, and no matter the risk, my fellow adventurers and I were up to the task. Climbing the trees, wrestling in mud, hiding in bushes; those bushes? Sure okay!
As a kid, our no-fear mentality made us oblivious to those so called risks, one of which I learned of sooner in life than later. While playing something similar to hide and go seek, a friend and I dove right into a patch of mutt greenery. I call it mutt greenery, you know, a big bush that used to be something but over the years all sorts of different weeds had taken over and it just looked like a big mess. This big mess however is what made it look like such a great place to hide. There were huge leaves and small leaves, all different colors of course; some with flowers and some had vines. Out of all the leaves there were tied up within that bush, the majority of them had long stems with three veined leaves at the end; all of the same size and all so very green. The leaves had awesome coverage and this was another great reason to make this our hiding spot.
Shortly after our game had ended I became abruptly attacked by the worst itch I had ever had the urge to scratch. The itching and scratching started to burn and suddenly I wasn’t a wild savage nomad, nope I was definitely without a doubt, my mothers Ragamuffin. My skin was turning red and in despair I did what any kid in my shoes would do. I quickly ran as fast as I could clear across the neighborhood and back to the safety of home.
I remember startling my mother, she thought something terrible had happened to me; I might have been starting to freak out and cry. She asked what was wrong I told her that I was itching like a ravenous dog littered with fleas, exact words. She asked where I had been and what I had been doing. I explained that we were playing commando (based off the 80’s flick staring Arnold Schwarzenegger) I told her that I was hiding in some bushes, she stopped me right there and knew exactly what had happened. She told me everything was going to be okay that I had gotten Poison Ivy all over me. I then started to scream bloody murder, my heart was pounding and all I could do is yell out “I don’t want to die mommy!!” “Why, oh why did I have to get poisoned!!?”
Mother again started to calm me down. As she threw me in the bathtub and began scrubbing me down with soap and water she explained to me what poison Ivy is and what it looks like. She then told me that the same thing happened to her at my age and that it is the circle of life, whatever that means to a child of my age at the time, but she went on to explain that now that I have the knowledge of what it is and what it looks like that I shouldn’t have anything to worry about again, and to stay out of bushes!
The warm soapy bath started to ease the pain while subsiding the inflammation; luckily I hadn’t been exposed to it on my body for any real rash to breakout. The rash did last for about a week or two and my mother for the first few days applied over the counter cream made for the treatment of poison ivy, this helped immensely with the itching and before I knew it all was well in the nomad life.
I suggest to any parents out there with adventurous children to take a small moment to teach their little explorers some of the nature’s meanest allies. It’s always better to learn first then to find out after it’s too late, unless of course you like teaching the hard way, but that’s up to you.