Back to another fishing story. (Surprise, surprise!)
But this one will come two-fold, and doesn’t have much to do with actual fishing.
While on a trip a while ago, I was given the opportunity to reinforce what I’ve always taught my kids. You don’t kill bugs or animals unless they’re in your house.
Outside, I say, is their house.
“You wouldn’t want someone coming into your room and stomping on you, would you?”
Of course not. So let them be. We hunt and fish, but we eat what we harvest. There’s no need to smash spiders or destroy ant hills.
This general rule applies to all living things, plants included. If they aren't a hazard (this designation is left to man-eating monsters from bad sci-fi movies), leave them alone.
So we were out fishing, and he witnessed me get a nasty bite from some alien-looking insect. Instead of smashing it, I gently threw it back into the grass.
He questioned why I wasn’t mad that it bit me. I said because I’m in the bug’s house, I have to play by the bug’s rules and I have no right to smash it.
“So we just let life live, right dad?” he said with an innocence that would make the Dalai Lama blush.
“That’s right buddy,” was really all I could say.
I learned to listen to what my elders had to say at a young age, especially when it came to things pertaining to the great outdoors.
As with most kids though, I frequently had to learn the hard way.
Some examples include jumping out of hay lofts, falling into the Mighty Missouri, and one of the Midwest’s biggest foes, poison ivy.
While growing up, it seemed like I could catch that stuff on a breeze. I don’t remember many summers without a bout of the constant itching and popping blisters.
Last weekend while fishing at a pond, the poison was pointed out to the boys. “That’s poison ivy, stay away from it.”
That’s what the boy and his friend were told, and it seemed sufficient.
The problem obviously comes down the fact that boys are boys, and boys don’t need to listen -- at least they think they don't.
His friend isn’t allergic to poison ivy, and they went tromping around while the fishing took place.
Come Monday morning, the boy’s armpits, neck, back and waistline were covered with itchy, nasty bumps.
I do feel bad for him because I know what it's like. The constant urge to scratch like there's gold buried in your arm, can drive one almost to the point of insanity.
Naturally day care is out of the question, and since mom is out of town for work, it means a few days of dad-son time. Too bad I have to treat him like he has the plague!
But I'm wondering if I've lost my allergy to that three-leaved devil plant. That's the only explanation I can think of as to why I'm not twice as bad as he is.
But if I get it, look out. I’ll have to check if I can get calamine lotion in bulk…
Hopefully he learned his lesson from this. But I think he might start questioning my reason behind letting life live after his first foray into the world of poison ivy.
Jesse Murphy is a reporter for the Maryville Daily Forum. He can be reached at email@example.com