However, all earthly paradises have a dark side, and Missouri and much of the Midwest has its: chiggers!
I thought I knew what a chigger was, but obviously I didn’t because though I was warned that there might be chiggers in the big day lily plot I was going out to admire, I really didn’t know what I was looking for. Plus my cousin, whose garden it was, didn’t seem too concerned.
Only my arms were exposed so I diligently looked for something about the size of a mosquito, ready to kill it dead if it appeared. Nothing did, so I left feeling like I had avoided the chiggers and whatever they did to you. I didn’t.
The event (except for my foray to the garden) had been an indoor one, so I didn’t feel the need to shower that night . . . nor the next (which was just a day of travel) . . . but on day three . . . WOW!
I wasn’t sure if I had the measles or had somehow found a flea infested bed, but I was covered in little red bites––and I mean COVERED! Then the itching started . . . and the one thing you are told NOT to do is scratch. So I bought the industrial size anti-itch ointment (that doesn’t really work) and sat on my hands for the next week and waited . . . and waited . . . and waited for the itching to subside and the bites to disappear. The itching did end but even now (over two months later) there are still little visible reminders of those visitors.
Fortunately, chiggers don’t carry disease. They are merely an extreme annoyance but one that could have been avoided.
So what did I learn? First of all, shower daily––regardless. Second, that ignorance and arrogance are a lethal combination. But most importantly . . . don’t trust your cousins.