When I was in the vegetable garden yesterday, looking at poison ivy by the gate, right next to the peonies, I was was reminded of Aunt Rose and the time she had the ladies from her senior-citizen Sunday-school class over for lunch.
Rose kept her house dark in the summer, shades and blinds drawn in order to keep things cool since she didn't have air conditioning. Early that morning she went out to her herb garden to pick mint to put into the iced tea she was serving at lunch. She'd infuse the tea with mint and also put a sprig at the top of each glass.
Dear Rose's eyesight wasn't what it used to be and in the early morning light she failed to discern poison ivy growing alongside the mint. Now the good news is that Rose was one of those rare people who are not allergic to poison ivy; more good news is that when she selected plants with which to infuse the tea she used mint and not poison ivy - but of course there has to be bad news in this story and the bad news is that when she selected sprigs with which to top her glasses she missed the mint and used the poison ivy.
When the gals arrived for lunch around the dinning room table, with the blinds shut and the shades drawn, they could hardly see what was in front of them. Since the mint aroma permeated the tea they all assumed that the sprigs were mint.
A few days later the ladies awoke scratching their noses - and the harder they scratched the worse they itched - that is all the ladies except Rose. They first assumed they had come down with pollen allergies and off they went to the local drug store for antihistamine - imagine their surprise when the drug store looked like a rendezvous point for the senior-ladies Bible study, sans Rose.
The next day they all awoke to more scratching.
Come Sunday the only one who attended Aunt Rose's luncheon who showed up for church and Sunday school was Aunt Rose - the rest were at home miserable and...quite frankly...rather unsightly.
In the weeks that followed, as the ladies compared notes, it became clear that the common denominator was Rose's luncheon. The conclusion was that, as improbable as it might be, that they all developed a sudden allergy to mint.