Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011, but first...



I remember the day, if not the exact date, as clearly as if it were yesterday. I was thirteen years old, it was early June, and I was sitting with school friends on the grassy bank of the River Severn in Worcester, watching various races in a regatta. I think that King's, Worcester, were winning, as we usually were very good on the river, but that was not my primary concern. I was, that afternoon, more concerned about my watery, painful eyes, and my sneezing and shortness of breath. What on earth was happening?

The following day I was told by Derek James, our family GP, that it was nothing more than hay fever. Nothing more! How could it be worse, what with all the end of year exams approaching? But antihistamines were prescribed, and with minimal drowsiness I survived the ensuing weeks.

I grew out of such allergies in my mid 20s. There is no medical answer to why this happens, but it is generally recognized that it can occur. And I am thankful. For if I continued to react to grass and tree pollen today, I would possibly, if not probably be in hospital. For we are in the middle of a six week pollen season. The tree pollen, primarily oak, which relentlessly coats everything, takes the form of finest turmeric. My dark gray car needs hosing down every morning and evening. And the above images were taken this morning, after a brief thundershower, of my driveway.

My initial allergic reaction, circa 1969, was to something invisible. Those who suffer on Long Island today do so by the hand of pollen that is both visible and messy. Lord help them.

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Our Memorial Day has been perfect, and not to be sneezed at. With suitable thoughts for those who have died in the service of this country, we quietly enjoyed a day of being at home. Pottering, as I like to describe it. After this morning's welcome rain showers the sun shone. I sat in the garden and read for a while, then sowed grass seed in barren places. Sandi and Kate ran a few errands, and then we all enjoyed an early dinner of grilled bison-burgers, various salads and fries! And I also reflected on how great the garden looked this late spring day. Which will lead me into tomorrow's pictorial blog...

2 comments:

Saintly Ramblings said...

As you grew out of it, I grew into it. I started getting hay fever when I was about 40. This year so far it has been mild - just a few sequences of violent early-morning sneezing, and the last two days, itchy and runny eyes. Today, with a few showers going over, it's a lot better. I think mine is grass pollen rather than tree, and thankfully it's not rape or wheat, for here in this rural landscape we are surrounded with both. It usually lasts 4-5 weeks, and then the rest of the summer is clear.

T said...

My sympathies, previously empathies. It's an awful allergy, and it really takes the fun out of early summer.