The Prairie Spy

Alan “Lindy” Linda

Since Rainbowe has gotten into poison ivy here on the farm–and in the process, rubbed some of it off on me–this is going to be about medical treatment. She got into it bad enough that tomorrow she’s going to the doctor.

But now, judging by the apocalyptic pustules erupting on her arms, I’m going to have to rename her. Gonna call her Poison Ivy. (Remember that old rock song? Poiiisssooon Iiiiiivy, you’re gonna need an ocean of calamine lotion….. Yes, well. She’s my rock song.)

Here’s my personal story about poison ivy: It was a warm early spring day, I was clearing some ground around three cottonwood trees. You know, pruning them up, pulling weeds, etc.

And doing it in a tee shirt, arms exposed. You know how this goes, don’t you? My left arm broke out in giant pustules and blisters the next day. A local guy drove in, saw my arm, said: “That’s poison ivy. I can fix that.” He took off.

He drove back into the yard about a half hour later, and just as he was getting out of his truck, he grabbed my arm, reached back into his truck and grabbed something. Next thing I know, he’s spreading it up and down my arm AND IT’S COW POOP! FRESH COW POOP!

I was so flabbergasted that I was powerless to stop him. He spread the poop and then wrapped the whole arm in clear Saran wrap, and drove off, happy that he could help.

I rinsed the whole thing off. Within hours, the blood veins feeding that arm turned green, and I went to the doctor.

I’m reading a book called: “Quackery–A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything.” It has numerous cures even more disastrous to the human body than cow poop. Of particular interest is a section labelled: Blow Smoke up your Arse.

It seems that tobacco was given all sorts of miraculous medical ability back then, one of which was reviving drowning victims by literally blowing smoke up their other end. In fact, in London, so many people were drowning in the Thames River that a society was formed: “The Institution for Affording Immediate Relief to Persons Apparently Dead from Drowning.”

Whew. Anyway. These members prowled the banks of the Thames with their tobacco smoke enema kits handy, should some poor soul stumble into the river and drown. At that point, they would drag the victim out, roll him on his belly, drop his drawers, get out their bellows, stick an enema tube up his bottom, and fumigate him with tobacco smoke pressure driven by a bellows.

No. It didn’t work. However,  the one lasting result of all this was that we ended up with an expression, one which we use now when someone is trying to fool us.

“What! Are you blowing smoke up my, well, my you-know-what!”


Maybe I’m blowing it up yours?