Leaves of Three…

Leave them be.

And no kids, it’s not a pot plant. It’s poison ivy.

Did your Mom ever share that little summer haiku with you? Growing up, every summer we took this simple “poison ivy” tutorial.

Can you spot the three leaves? Can you manage to stay away from it? And when you inevitably get it, will you be able to put the calamine on without getting it all over the place?

And every summer without fail, Meg would end up with poison ivy.

She remembers her first encounter was somewhere in early grade school, where it spectacularly covered her backside. I believe the only cure for that was to spend copious amounts of time at the beach, as salt water was one of the “cures”.

The second time she got it Meg and her friends were out riding bikes and tromping through the woods by a creek on a sunny weekend day. She went to school on Monday with a lopsided face, which was SO COOL in the sixth grade. She ended up going to the doctor and getting steroids, and hiding behind the largest books she could find in her desk at school.

Later down the road, say around 16 or so, she got it again on her face, and we think this time it might have been picked up from the cat. Or possibly just LOOKING at it, because now there was a common theme running through each summer, which included a messy red rash that took WEEKS to go away.

When Meg and her husband bought their last house, the yard was infested with poison ivy, and yes, you guessed it, she got it once again. Not only was the “leaves of three” saying burned into her memory bank, she now understood you could get it in March, just from cutting the brush.

So, when Mama Kat asked her readers to write about the summer trouble they got into, Meg could think of no better subject than her good friend the poison ivy plant.

Meg was wondering about other home remedies for poison ivy her readers were subjected to, because to this day the smell of calamine lotion makes her itch, even without a case of poison ivy.

What Goes With Summer?

Besides a great tan and some really spiffy sandals?

That’s right, hot dogs!

When summer rolls around, Meg loves a hot dog cooked on the grill. Place that in a split top bun With chopped onions, spicy mustard and a cold beer and there you have it. OK, maybe she needs a side of chips with that. And possibly some baked beans, because if you are from Boston, baked beans are part of your DNA.

As Meg shops in various markets, she always checking out the deli, just to see how things stack up versus what she was used to at home. Sadly, the large variety of goodies she was used to isn’t there. Where is the sharp provolone? The parmesan pesto ham? More importantly, where are the hot dogs?

Meg’s husband requested hot dogs a few weeks ago. Meg confidently trooped out the store thinking there would be a large variety to choose from. And she was sadly mistaken. There were NONE at the deli, but the selection in the processed meat section (I can’t think of what else to call it…) was woefully inadequate, and heinous. She ultimately selected a brand called Nathans for her husband, and Meg promptly elected to have a cheeseburger for herself. That’s how much she hated what she had to choose from.

Meg would like to know where Texas is hiding the Deutchmaker individually wrapped hot dogs? She is going to have to hold some steaks and barbecue sauce hostage if you don’t pony them up, OK?

One more thing to add to my New England vacation list:

Thin pizza that does not taste like cardboard
Good Chinese that is spicy
Decent seafood that isn’t farm raised tilapia
Ken’s salad dressing that isn’t goddamn RANCH dressing

Meg assures you, she has been working out like a fiend to accomodate the ever growing food fest she has scheduled in August, when she returns to her beloved homeland.

Pomp and Some Kinda Circumstance.

It’s graduation week in Meg’s neighborhood. Every grade school kid seems to have a cap and gown, a new X-Box and they are partying down. Based on what I see at the high school next door, I’m surprised they don’t have Mercedes convertibles on reserve, but that’s another story.

Times have certainly changed, because when Meg graduated from sixth grade, she was advised to keep up the good grades, as junior high was the stepping stone to high school and then obviously to college. No parties, no cap and gown, just some sage quotes from parents and teachers.

Meg and her classmates were not about to let the lack of parties stop their natural curiosity. At eleven years old, they had lots of questions that had not been answered, and one of those mysteries was what did the boys bathroom look like?

Sure there were stories of these:

But what did it REALLY look like?

Meg went to an old-fashioned 2 story brick school. It was so old, it was named the CALVIN COOLIDGE SCHOOL. It was heated with COAL, (which was great for a coal garden! Remember those?) and it sported a rickety iron fire escape on which we routinely conducted fire drills without looking down through the grates – scary!

The rest rooms were located in a dank dark basement, which made things seem even more clandestine. The boys and girls each had a side, separated by a small door that literally had laser beams shooting from all directions should you decide to cross that divide.

As a special end of year treat, Meg and her friends Barbie, Debbie, Greta, Jane and Cheryl decided it was high time they saw what was going on back there. After dismissal, they hid out in the basement and huddled together like a bunch of magpies, racing down to glimpse a bunch of urinals and howling.

Sadly, the howling did not escape the notice of the lone make teacher in our school. He promptly invited us up to his classroom, where we received the following assignment:

I’m not sure if you know how long it takes to write that out 1000 times, but it’s a lot. It turned into a days long project, where we spent an hour after school diligently slaving over sheets of yellow lined paper. After a few days, he decided we had all had enough and released us into the afternoon.

Trust Meg, her conduct has rarely slipped since that time. And it certainly made sixth grade graduation memorable.