I often do my best thinking while walking, especially on a Sunday morning when there are less people pounding the pavement at my favorite nature nook.
My musings this morning occurred as I passed the wildflowers and weeds that are in full bloom now throughout the Park. I decided that, were it not for the allergy shots I’ve gotten for decades, walking in Council Point Park would not be half as pleasurable, even on a picture-perfect, weather-perfect day like we had today.
For years, August was a month of horrors … red and watery eyes, a running nose, and my throat felt so itchy that I used to down large spoonfuls of Grape Nuts cereal, as those little nuggets seemed to sooth that itchy throat and make it feel better.
One of my customers who had regularly eaten at the diner where I worked weekends and Summers while attending college, would see me standing waiting for the bus on Fort Street to go downtown to WSU, then after graduation, to work. He would often stop and pick me up. Harry Matelski lived on Grosse Ile and was a VP at Winkelman’s woman’s apparel store, and his office was at their headquarters on Woodward Avenue. He preferred taking Fort Street to jumping on the expressway. What a treat to have “the big ride” in his Cadillac, as opposed to the cramped suburban bus, which, in those days, often smelled of diesel fumes, had no A/C, and half the time the windows didn’t work and were stuck in an all-the-way-open, or all-the-way-shut position. Before Harry, after my morning commute, I’d arrive at school or work a sniffling and sneezing mess.
Of course, I would whine incessantly about those Summertime allergies and how miserable late Summer was, but, as my parents would remind me … it didn’t stop me from going to Pine Knob where my friends and I regularly had lawn seats.
My grandmother had the same hayfever symptoms come August and would similarly sneeze her head off … her sneezes came in rapid succession. She often lamely joked that with her already-existing heart problems, a series of successive sneezes might prove fatal to her one day.
I finally started seeing an allergist and took shots in each arm (a/k/a as allergen immunotherapy) for twenty years. Then my allergist retired and he said I could stop the shots, as I’d not had symptoms for years. But, those sneezes and sniffles returned nearly ten years later, this time as early Spring allergies, not late Summer allergies like I had before. Go figure.
The allergy shots regimen round #2 is successful, and, I’m happy to say that not a single sneeze has occurred at Council Point Park – not in early Spring when the grass is lush and green, nor now, when the Park is full of weeds, like this Queen Anne’s Lace pictured above.
Every time I see Queen Anne’s Lace, I travel back in time to recall picking some and presenting it to my mom one time. “Flowers from the meadow” I said and handed them to her. She accepted that bundle of dainty weeds, which I had paired with other “wildflower” weeds, but, then, after thanking me, she gently told me that the pretty purple-blue chicory, bright-yellow buttercups and dainty Queen Anne’s Lace were not really flowers, but weeds. Well, that was a letdown to me, but at least Mom was diplomatic about her “gift” wasn’t she?
Queen Anne’s Lace is really no slouch when it comes to weeds though … it does deserve some recognition besides the moniker of “weed”. After all, it is a butterfly magnet, especially for swallowtails, like the butterfly I featured in a recent blogpost, plus, it was named after England’s Queen Anne, who was reportedly an expert lace maker.
Queen Anne’s Lace always reminds me of the decorative doilies under the colonial-style lamps in the living room. These two doilies are relics and have some sentimental value. They were tatted by my great grandmother. She took up that hobby when she had to forsake a good deal of her farmhouse chores, after she was saddling up the buggy horse to go to church and Mabel was suddenly spooked by something, reared up, then came down with one hoof on the top of my grandmother’s foot. She was laid up a long time, then never walked properly after that incident. Besides baking, she filled her days with quilting, embroidering and tatting.
Today’s weather was perfect and I got another five miles added to my walking tally for 2017. I originally intended to head to Heritage Park in Taylor since it was such a refreshing and glorious day, but, the Little League World Series is being held there today through next Sunday and I thought it might be too crowded.
So, off I headed to my favorite go-to place … Heritage Park can wait for another time.