Geezer Tribe: Don’t forget your hankie

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by Linda Shaffer
No, I’m not talking about hanky panky. I’m pretty sure this was something we weren’t supposed to participate in when we were kids and we didn’t want our kids to do any of it either. In 1966 there was a dance based on a song by Tommy James and the Shondells about the hanky panky. There was even a movie called Hanky Panky in 1982 but our purpose here is to discuss hankies without any panky.

It’s the time of year that you can’t get much done in life without a tissue or a hankie nearby. Yes, it’s allergy season and this year it started early when extra-warm temperatures signaled all the trees to bloom. Oh, and while they were at it, they seemed to create a whole lot of pollen. Alder and Cedar are my least favorites. Though I doubt they shed more pollen than other trees you can see the bloom. Alder blushes and you can watch cedar pollen as it drifts through the air when a good breeze hits those branches. You can see that yellow pollen on your car hood and it sticks to windows, too.
Ah, how we love spring. Those blooming evergreens are followed by what we like to call, “duh blahthumb bessibal”, also known as the blossom festival, but when your nose is plugged up it comes out differently. If you are like me, you carry tissue wherever you go and have at least five tissue containers throughout your home, in addition to back-up toilet paper. Mr. S carries a real cotton hankie. Because “hankie” sounds uncool to him, he calls it a “snot rag.” These manly items come in red or navy in the same Western print that has been used by manly men forever. They also come in pink and purple but you didn’t hear that from me. I learned the hard way that these are truly the only acceptable pocket-worthy all-purpose wipes for my husband. He soundly rejected cotton-poly solids with matching stripes, which will be in his drawer until they close our estate.
Between sounds of sneezing, coughing and nose blowing, the most common words spoken around here during allergy season are, “bless you” and, “thanks”. There’s also the ever-popular, “OOPS” or in the worst case, “DAMNED IT.” This means that you’ve sneezed or coughed and wet yourself, either a little or a lot. Some of us have trouble with incontinence on our best days. The same bladders which we could ignore for hours on end in earlier years have changed. I like to think this is bladder payback time. As one who is guilty of ignoring my bladders’ demands for years, I figure the poor thing must look like a leaked-out innertube. It certainly acts like one. At least we’re all in this together.
I sometimes wonder when allergy season isn’t. I know it comes in early spring with evergreen trees and meets up with summer by the time flowering trees are finished blooming. As soon as that happens, other plants start to bloom. Your average Scotch Broom convention will require several tissues. As we watch through watery eyes,a parade of shrubs and flowers will take us right up to late summer when the air is filled with grass pollen. Yikes. Blooming grass fields can literally make me sneeze enough that I have to pull over if I’m driving. I try to avoid the Great Valley during late summer because good-old Oregon still is the Rye Grass capitol of the world or at least I think we still hold that title.
For fun, lets just say that allergy season is during the months of February, March, April, May, June, July, August and September. Did I miss anything? If not, that leaves us just four months to be allergic to things in our homes, pets, things we eat and stagnant winter air quality. All things considered, I say we do the Hanky Panky while wearing clothing with lots of pockets for tissues, hankies and snot rags. Of course, feel free to add pads or disposable undies as necessary. It’s the only way. Bless you and have a great week.