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Another of Deb's attributes was that she didn't catch poison ivy; therefore, whenever a job required contact with it, I sent Deb out. Even though I was always the one that told dendro students to limit contact even if they were not susceptible because there is evidence that the more you are in contact with it, the more likely you are to get it, and it will be a severe case when you do.

On one occasion we needed to measure a red oak genetic test at Martell for a big multistate publication and people from the University of Kentucky came up to help us. The problem was that nearly every tree was encrusted with poison ivy vines, and diameter at 4.5 feet had to be measured. Deb and I had had a disagreement over something. So I told her to go up to the other end of the planting where we couldn't hear her complaining and start ripping vines off trees. She did it with great vigor. She was still mad at me. I can't recall what it was that sparked our disagreement, but you could hear her talking to herself as she pulled and cut vines off the trees. She was dressed in shorts, and tee shirt. I think she had a hatchet too, which was probably a dangerous situation. The Kentucky people couldn't understand why I had banished her and made her do the poison ivy, but I told them it was best for all of us. Later that week, Deb came to me totally a mass of itching blistered poison ivy symptoms and tried to rub it off on me. But I ran. She ended up getting shots and looked like a white ghost with all that calamine lotion on her. All I could say was, “Deb, I told you that you would get it someday”. Later, months later, we could laugh about it, but she still, literally, wears the scars of that day.



© 2010 Purdue Number One

 

 
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