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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Perils of Pinky Poinker- Part One

               Pinky at four years of age at the convent.

My first boyfriend’s name was Kevin and from vague memories he was red-headed and extremely freckled. You know how in a relationship, sometimes one person is often much more in love than the other?

Well Kevin was more in love with me, than I in him.

I was four going on five and he was five going on six. He lived down the road from me and was to be reliably found knocking gently on our front door for a play every afternoon after school.

I don’t think Kevin should be encouraged to come over and play with Pinky so much,” said my mother one day to my father (whilst Pinky’s ears flapped maniacally). “You should hear the way she bosses the poor, little buggar around.”

It was true. I used to make agreeable Kevin stretch one of my father’s big socks over his head and pretend to be 
Davy Crockett. My own head was adorned with a length of Christmas tinsel and I portrayed the Indian Squaw.

It was the fantasy role-play I indulged in at that age. (Things haven’t improved much. You should see what I make Scotto dress up in… jokes.)

Every afternoon, earnest Kevin was sent out of the tepee in search of wild buffalo whilst I stayed at home and mixed a concoction of dirt, dried leaves and twigs in an old, empty petrol can. When he returned from the hunt (always disappointingly empty-handed) we would share the ‘Indian Stew’ I had lovingly created.

Our short romance did end quite quickly when my mother found me slyly washing large amounts of dirt out of my mouth into the bathroom sink (I’d inserted a plastic tube into the can and innocently sucked hard not thinking about the consequences) and she banned poor blameless Kevin from coming over any more.

Why did your mother overreact in such a harsh way? I hear you ask.

Well, about a month beforehand my mother and I had shared a conversation that went something like this.

Do you see that tree with the yellow flowers over there, Pinky?

“Yes, Mummy.”

Well you are never to go near that tree. It is POISONOUS! The leaves are poisonous and so are the flowers. Do NOT go near it.”

At that stage my sister Sam was still a baby and I was often bored stupid; an only child wandering around our swing-less, cubby-less backyard looking for something… anything to do. Espying the alluringly, seductive tree one day I thought I might have a taste-test on one of the leaves. Why the hell not? What did my mother know anyway?

I can remember my mouth immediately burning up and running frantically screaming to my mother. By the time I was raced to the doctor’s my lips had swollen monumentally and were completely numb. Thankfully nothing had been ingested.

“If I hadn’t mentioned the bloody tree she wouldn’t have bloody well gone anywhere near it!” I remember my mother crying to my father on the way home in the car.
Too true, too true.

Oleander poisoning occurs when someone sucks nectar from the flowers or chews leaves from the oleander or yellow oleander plant. Poisoning can also happen if you eat honey made by bees that used the oleander plant for nectar.