|from Wikipedia Commons (see link)|
I don't remember exactly how old I was when this happened but I'm guessing that I might have been 7 or 8 years old. I remember that my friends and I were playing together near a side road where a lot of weeds were growing. I had seen Poke Weed before and I vaguely remember being warned to stay away from it. But the berries certainly looked delicious and I'd seen birds eating it. I don't remember if I ate them on a dare or whether I was just hungry and they looked too good to pass up. I don't remember how many I ate but I did eat some. I remember immediately being sorry I did. They were very bitter and I may have spat them out but I got enough of them in me to make me feel sick. I got light headed and I may have blacked out. I distinctly remember smelling something, too. It smelled like a hospital.
Before this berry eating episode, one of my earliest memories was being in the hospital to get my tonsils out. I think I was 3 or 4 years old. I remember being on the operating table and having anesthetic being administered. I remember crying, trying to get away and then floating with the smell of the anesthetic being overwhelming. That is the smell I remember after eating the berries. Did I collapse after eating the berries and was I taken to the hospital? Am I still on the operating table and just dreaming that I've lived the next 55 years? Or did I die and this is all in my head as I await the resurrection? When you read the article that I linked to above, you'll see that the berries and most of the plant are toxic.
What I think happened was that after getting dizzy, not being able to see for a while and spitting out the foul berries, that I kept playing with my friends. I spent the rest of the summer doing fun things and going back to school that fall. I graduated from high school and went to college. I graduated and got a job. After a long time, I got married and had a family. In late 2006, I started writing a blog and just today, I wrote this post. Or did I? Perhaps I'm just imagining all of you. If I wake up, I'll try to keep remembering you all
The photo of American Pokeweed is from this link.