My oldest daughter has been writing every day this month. We often find ourselves talking about slice ideas as she uses a pattern of alternating between a present and past memory. Today she wrote about one of the funny memories we had brainstormed, and I thought it might be fun to take my own try at describing this story as well.
Since my childhood, I have been traveling to Lake Placid, NY. If you asked me at thirteen, when I felt like I would rather be in Disney than hopping in the crammed car with my parents and three siblings to make the four and a half hour trek, I never would have said that I would continue the tradition with my own family. However, Lake Placid or “the mountains,” as we all call it, continues to be my family’s favorite destination. One of the best parts of the Adirondacks is the majestic and scenic hiking trails. When the kids were younger, the safest bet was to venture on the more structured trails like High Falls Gorge or Ausable Chasm where we could enjoy the slower paced, mostly even-terrained, and well manicured paths. As the kids are now older and ready for more adventure, we decided to brave a different kind of trail where the views proved to be more magical than could be imagined. Standing on a wooden bridge over Lake Placid while Whiteface Mountain hovered in the background is a vision that remains etched in my mind. All was beautiful and serene until we arrived at a path overgrown with what was clearly poison ivy. Having had a past severe allergic reaction that required steroids to eliminate the red puffiness on my face, this is one dreaded plant I try to avoid at all costs. As I analyzed the situation, I also realized that we were not properly dressed for this excursion. Maybe I could navigate through using my hiking stick to push the vines out of the way as we continued. The rest of my family was determined to venture forward. Having a rather poor sense of direction, I might not have made it out if I turned around, not to mention that the distance back that way was far greater than the distance ahead. It was as if we were starting a race as we stopped, got in ready position, and sprinted through the wild plants protruding the trail. Once through, I knew rationally that it was in my mind, but I was already itching. The gloomy thought that this was only the second day of our trip which would surely be paused if anyone were to get poison ivy was weighing on me. We loaded back into the car after completing our first intermediate hike in the wilderness forty minutes from our house. The original plan was to continue to spend some time in the Village before heading home. This was certainly going to be unpleasant for me, until I had an idea. As we passed a Walgreens, which are few and far between in upstate NY, I told my husband to pull in. “For what?” he asked, but I hopped out of the car without answering. I glanced up at the signs indicating which aisle items were housed in until I found what I was looking for. In no time, I was headed back to the car with two gallons of water, a roll of paper towels, and a large bottle of Tecnu, an outdoor skin cleanser. I could see my family staring in disbelief as I got closer. “Everyone out,” I demanded as they continued to shake their heads in embarrassment. One by one in the Walgreens parking lot, I poured the hopefully miracle solution on each family member’s arms and legs, followed by rinsing with the water, and then drying off with paper towels before everyone was allowed back in the car to change into their spare set of clothes that we had packed in the trunk. I was feeling more at ease, and the evening continued with mini golf and dinner.
My daughter ended her recollection of this memory- “Of all the crazy things my mom has done, this was definitely one of the most memorable,” but I will end, “Of all the crazy ideas I have had, this might have been the most brilliant.” No one got poison ivy.