Life Is Simple
Judy got home from work on Thursday afternoon, quickly changed into her work clothes and proceeded to do some yard work. When I got in from the fields about 6 p.m. and sat down at the kitchen table to drink some iced tea, I heard the back door slam and the sound of Judy’s footsteps walking much faster than normal. I looked up as she entered the kitchen to see her hair all messed up, her arms flailing around her head, her face reddened, missing a shoe and her glasses, with a hint of tears rolling down her cheek. “They got me good!” she exclaimed with a quivering voice as she headed for the garage.
After seeking her revenge with a can of hornet spray, I finally learned that she had inadvertently invaded the space of a gigantic nest of red wasps and they had attacked her, in mass, with a vengeance. “How many got you?” I asked.
“I don’t know how many, but they got me on my nose and I think maybe two or three times on my arm.”
“Well, he sure had a good aim on that one,” I joked, as I pointed to her nose. She was not amused.
“It’s gonna swell like crazy,” she sniffled, “if I don’t get a Benadryl in me."
“Oh, I have something so much better. I’ve got a home remedy that will keep it from swelling, and relieve the pain as well.” I headed out the door to retrieve the “medicine” from my pickup truck.
Five minutes later, I was back in the house chewing a huge wad when she looked up and shouted, “I thought you quit chewing tobacco!”
“I did, honey, but I keep a pouch in my truck just for these kinds of emergencies,” I lied.
I took the wet wad of chewing tobacco out of my mouth and started to put it on her nose when she quickly drew back and shrieked, “What on earth are you doing?”
I explained to her that, as a child, anytime I would get stung by a bee or wasp, my Dad would quickly chew up a mouthful of Days Work or Union Standard and apply it to the sting. It would immediately ease the pain of the sting as well as prevent swelling. “Trust me,” I instructed.
“This is absolutely disgusting. Are you sure this will work?”
After just a few minutes, Judy conceded that the pain had mostly gone away. She started to untape the chew of tobacco when I instructed her that if she truly wanted to prevent the swelling, she would need to leave the tobacco in place for at least a couple of hours. Reluctantly, she agreed to my instruction.
By bedtime, she was amazed that she had no swelling, whatsoever, around her nose and eyes. Her arm, on the other hand, had significant swelling and redness. I had offered to make another chew to put on it, but she replied that that wouldn’t be necessary.
However, Friday morning I awoke cuddled against the elephant woman. I could not believe she could sleep so soundly with such a bulbous head, so as quietly and quickly as I could, I rose to shower and dress and get away from the crime scene as fast as I could before It raised its colossal head. Yet, as if reading my thoughts, It spoke.
“Morning,” It said, “my eyes feel pretty puffy…..how do they look?”
“Maybe a little puffy…but not bad.” I said, remembering that honesty is not a virtue that fares well in a good marriage.
As It rose to prepare for her daily routine, I attempted to sidle up the stairway with the stealth of my Indian heritage, but It reached the mirror before I could get away.
“Oh my God! Jerry, this is horrible! I thought you said the tobacco would draw out all of the swelling. I can’t go anywhere like this!”
“The only thing I can think of is that all this government crackdown on nicotine and tobacco products has reduced the strength of the stuff. It used to work when I was a kid, honestly.”
“But,” she replied, “what about our anniversary? There is no way I am going to the dinner theater tonight looking like this.”
I guess that tobacco worked after all.
Jerry Crownover farms in Lawrence County. He is a former professor of Agriculture Education at Missouri State University, and is an author and professional speaker. To contact Jerry, go to www.ozarksfn.com and click on 'Contact Us.'