30 November 2009

Sleepy Hollow Recollections: Paul Nolan Hyde--Canyon Boy, 1948-1959: #3

Back in late September I received three vignettes from Paul Nolan Hyde, now a resident of Utah, but, for over a decade a denizen of Sleepy Hollow in the 1940s and 1950s. Having shared his recollections about glow worms and snakes, here is the third:


Stingweed plants, or nettles, were plentiful in the watercourse of the Creek. They were painful when brushed up against and I tried to avoid them whenever I could. My impression is that even when I was wearing heavy blue jeans, I would not venture very far into a patch of stingweed. There were wonderful myths the Creek boys told about stingweed; I think that they were designed for the gullible. One such myth was that stingweed would not hurt you if you grabbed a handful with a hard grip. I could not imagine anything much more stupid than that. Barely touching the plant inflicted great and lasting welts; I found it difficult to believe that an outright attack on the plant would bring some other result. Additionally, I could not perceive any reason why anyone would ever have an overwhelming desire to mess with stingweed sufficient to resort to grabbing fistfuls of it. I never tested the validity of the assertion made by my fellows.

Another claim made about stingweed suggested that if one were stung, that all that was needed to relieve the pain was to rub mud from the Creek on the welt. I learned for myself that that procedure actually worked if it were done quickly enough. I am not sure that there was any medicinal benefit from the sand and water; my guess is that the mud was abrasive enough to remove most of the needles. The best protection against stingweed, however, was to go near them not at all.

I sure hope Mr. Hyde will share more of his remembrances of life in Carbon Canyon from fifty to sixty years ago, so stay tuned!

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