My son and future daughter-in-law invited us to go see some cabins up in the Texas hill country. The campsite had a rustic, little gazebo that overlooked the valley and a lake below. They thought it would make a romantic, scenic spot to exchange wedding vows.
We dressed nicely since we were going to meet her family for the first time, and we enjoyed the winding Sunday drive as we left behind San Antonio and approached the panorama of Canyon Lake.
“Juniper trees,” said my husband as he parked the car. “The place is covered in mountain cedar.”
I looked at a copse of trees. They looked like Christmas firs, the kind one sees in cowboy movies or Little House on the Prairie. A light breeze hit my face as I climbed out of the car. They did not look threatening at all but I knew my husband was allergic to mountain cedar.
“Will you be all right?” I asked. He nodded.
HoneyBunch is one of the sturdiest men I know. He is rarely sick. Few things affect him.
Except for Mountain Cedar.
The fine, yellow pollen the trees give off during the winter months makes his eyes turn red and water. They itch like fire. His nose runs and he gets chills. It knocks him off his feet and it is the only time of the year he will let me dose him with OTC meds - allergy pills twice a day.
We had to walk through the middle of the trees to go look at the cabins, the main hall, the gazebo. We took pictures and everyone discussed the pros and cons of renting this place for the upcoming wedding.
My eyes started to burn. My nose started to itch. Both my eyes and nose started to water. My husband warned me not to rub my eyes and to keep my hands away from my face. Neither one of us had a tissue. I swiped at my eyes with the long sleeve of my shirt and I heard my husband object but I ignored him. I had tears and snot streaming down my face.
I was making a great first impression in front of the new in-laws.
A few minutes more of this suffering and I no longer cared about the discussion. I was blinded by the burning coals the blasted trees had poured into my eyes. I moaned to HoneyBunch and the kids that I needed to get away from the juniper. I needed to get home.
I needed a tissue. I needed a Zyrtec. I needed out of this inferno.
They wanted to go eat somewhere. They wanted to go see another two possible venues.
I wanted none of that. Couldn’t they see I was dying?
Blinded by the pollen, I let HB lead me back to the car. He found me a wrinkled, fast food napkin I had stowed in the glove compartment. I moaned again, vowing to never, ever again go any place without a box of tissues in the car and a bottle of Zyrtec in my purse.
Those harmless looking trees are sneaky little bastards and I think we should pull up every, single, evil, juniper and burn it at the stake. Downwind, of course.
That would show them who is boss of this ecosystem. (Don’t worry. We could find a tree to replace it that wouldn’t send 80% of the population every year into allergic reactions.)
The kids chose a different venue for their wedding. My allergic reaction had nothing to do with their decision, but had they ended up saying I Do among the junipers, I would have found a way to mainline Zyrtec. At least my tears that day would be of joy and not because of mountain cedar.