I’m not sure what he meant by it. I even thought it was the Japanese word for “itch” when I was a little girl. All I know is when my mother made me wear wool sweaters without an undershirt, that funny little word described my feelings exactly. “I’m itchy and if you don’t let me take this sweater off, I’m going to cry!”
Well, these days, if I have to wear a wool sweater, I can choose to wear a shirt under it, so wool is no longer an instigator of itch.
Now, what makes me itchy wah-wah are the creepy-crawly bugs and plants of Arkansas: chiggers, ticks and poison ivy. And, here at the farm, this axis-of-evil thrives three of the four seasons. Not as easy to escape as a wool sweater.
So, I find myself pondering: Which is the MOST evil of the three–chiggers, ticks or poison ivy?
I’ll start with the least wicked – poison ivy. Though the blistering, oozing rash it brings is perhaps the itchiest of all, at least you can SEE poison ivy. You have to see something to avoid it. So, when gardening, I avoid anything with three leaves at all costs.
Next least evil? Ticks. Though seed ticks are very small, I can still feel one crawling on me, (sometimes, even when they’re not!) and I can pick it off and smash it to smithereens with a sharp-edged rock before it bores its blood-sucking head into my skin. But, I have missed a few, and I have to say, there aren’t many things more gross than having to pull a tick off yourself – except maybe having to ask my husband to do it for me.
And last, and MOST loathsome are the chiggers. You can’t see them. You can’t feel them crawling on you. The first sign you’ve been attacked by chiggers is the horrible itch, accompanied by a bright red rash, that on me, eventually turns purple. It is these repugnant chiggers that cause me to slather myself with bug spray before I work in the garden. What a choice – cover myself with poison or be chewed up by chiggers.