Johnny Reb’s Revenge

Welcome to the South! But beware – we have some surprises for you. If you are just passing through on the way to the beach, leave your car parked in Chik-fil-A’s parking lot long enough to get a sandwich and you’ll find it. The yellow nightmare that welcomes spring here every year: pollen.




We are used to it. We don’t love it, but accept it as one of the few drawbacks of living in God’s Country. I wonder what the Union soldiers thought of the yellow cloud in April of 1864. Did it slow them down or just shock the troops and make them sick along the way? I can’t imagine muskets are easy to aim anyway, but I’m guessing more than a couple Southern soldiers escaped the bullet because of the itchy eyes and runny nose of the enemy.

Despite our ideological divide, the Confederacy was short lived and we are united. This unity allows many Yankees to set up residence here when they get sick of the cold weather and frosty attitudes up north. I’m told they were called ‘carpetbaggers’ back in the day. We have nicer names for them now (when they are in earshot). We sell them our cow pastures at over-inflated prices and say things like “Bless your Heart”, which they think is nice but is actually a veiled insult.

Just kidding (except about BYH) – everyone is welcome here.

I had a humorous run-in with pollen at our first home. It was a cute little starter home that had one issue – when it rained, the run-off from the street came down our driveway and off into the side yard to a retaining ditch. You can never see something like that unless you happen to be visiting in the rain before the purchase. We weren’t and the community real estate agent didn’t share that fact. He was from Connecticut. Anyway, the first time it rained in April, our entire driveway and yard was painted yellow with pollen run-off. Being an inexperienced home-owner and relatively dull anyway, I marched up the street in the rain to confront whoever was spilling yellow paint into my yard. I figured it out fairly soon.

Now I have a new boss moving from New Jersey. He seems like a really nice guy and I look forward to working with him. I wonder how he and his family will feel about Johnny Reb’s revenge. They will mostly likely wait to move until after school is out and will miss it this year. So the question is, should I warn him?  Or let him enjoy the surprise in 2015…




Photo credits: “I Heart Pollen !” by Brooke Novak & USGS Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Laboratory from Beltsville, USA

19 thoughts on “Johnny Reb’s Revenge

    1. Do you mean it sincerely? Because most of the time when it drips syrupy sweet from a southerner’s mouth, it means more “poor old fool” than anything else.

  1. “I marched up the street in the rain to confront whoever was spilling yellow paint into my yard” – Mark, chucking my way through this lovely piece – that sentence so connected.

    (I won’t mention chasing some inebriated youngsters along several streets in icy conditions, not even half-clothed at 2am one winter morning – determined to reclaim our wheelie bin they had taken for a ride)

  2. The Yellow Fog has not yet arrived in SW Missouri. However, we’ve had one or two Dirt Rains so far. The pollen fogs should arrive soon. Store shelves are stocked with Benadryl and tissues. Don’t warn the norterner. It’s part of the initiation, right?

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