Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Multitudinous mistletoe

In a large yellow poplar tree in our front yard and at least 100 feet above the ground grow several large clumps of mistletoe. (The photo was shot with 300mm lens.)

Everyone knows that mistletoe is a parasitic plant and is associated with various Christmas traditions, but did you know it is used to treat seizures and headaches in some cultures and is being closely looked at an an anticancer treatment?

When I was writing O Henry-type short stories about 50 years ago, I thought one of my best was about a boy who borrowed his father's shotgun to shoot mistletoe out of a tree to go along with the Christmas present he was going to buy his girlfriend, but it took him five dollars worth of shells to get the mistletoe down. He had to pay his father back for the shells first so the father could shoot a turkey for the family Christmas dinner. The boy didn't have enough money to buy the Christmas gift.

I thought it was a good story, but apparently the editors I sent it to didn't like it because it was never published. Their loss, I say.

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