Posted by: Dan Sprague | November 10, 2011

Red leaves in the Christmas Wreath

The Christmas decorations are now out in the stores, the weather is cooler, and here in Florida, what we residents call “the season” is just starting. The snow birds will be soon here. In one of the stores there was a wreath that had nice red and green ivy in it. The sight of it made me itch.

Between my freshmen and sophomore college years I got a summer job at the Illinois Cereal Mill to earn money for the next school year. One other guy and I stood out from the newly hired. We looked like soft college guys and the others looked like guys that had worked on a farm all there lives. That was about right. Rod and I became quick close friends for that reason. One day on lunch break, a co-worker came in that had a bad rash from poison ivy. Rod started to laugh and I knew we were both about to be killed. Rod put his hands up and said he had to tell them about what had happened the Christmas before.

Rod was a minister’s son from a small town in Nebraska. In the fall of the previous year he and his sister made Christmas Wreaths to sell. In a small town where everyone knows everyone,  and they know your parents, they had a large number of sales. The two of them made wonderful wreaths, decorated them with red ivy they found, and delivered them. The colorful ivy was poison ivy. About 80% of the population of Windside, Nebraska came down with poison ivy rash for Christmas.

Rod and his sister had to collect all the wreaths, refund the money, and apologize to most of the town.  That was one of the reasons that Rod had to applied to work at the mill that summer, far away from Windside!  All the co-workers thought it was funny and we became “one of the guys” for the rest of that summer.

A word of warning…take care if you make your own Christmas wreath!  Especially if you use ivy…

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