Lifestyle reporting by Nevada Jack
There’s something about the way southern gals kiss. They can get all mushy, warm and passionate as they close their eyes and pucker up their lips. Therefore, for the good of the rest of the human race, I determined to discover the reason. My hunch is that Southerners have more practice than their Yankee counter-parts. During the holidays, mistletoe adorns the top of doorframes of so many southern homes, that it provides plenty of excuses for women to get romantic with their lesser halves. Up north, the only mistletoe I’ve seen is plastic or imported in and all wilted. Neither is as potent as fresh mistletoe. Could you imagine a Roman poet wax about the erotic qualities of plastic mistletoe purchased at Wal-Mart?
From what I’ve seen, driving throughout Eastern North Carolina, this year’s mistletoe crop is a hardy one. The parasite is most often found in swampy hardwood bottomlands, where it grows between folks of branches in the upper portion of the trees. Although the trees are now barren for winter, some have so many clumps of mistletoe that tree appears to be an evergreen. Harvesting mistletoe is difficult. You first have to find your way out into the swamps which are often filled with water, then have to climb a tree and cut off a branch, unless of course you want to cut down the tree, which isn’t very good stewardship of our natural resources. Another option is a shotgun. Using #8 birdshot, you aim your shot at the base of a clump of mistletoe will lead to a showering of sprigs. Unfortunately the white berries, which add a nice contrast to the dark green, often don’t survive this harsh way of harvesting. Yet, this isn’t a terrible loss if you have small people around, as the berries are poisonous.
I had hoped to bring some mistletoe back with me to demonstrate it’s power to unsuspecting women up north, but I’ve spent too much time sitting around and am no longer good at climbing trees and scurrying out on branches. Furthermore, the idea of shotguns gives me the willies, as hunters tramping through the swamps down east have been known to use them to pellet the hides of my cousins with #2 buckshot. And besides, for most people, Christmas is over and to surprise them with a sprig of mistletoe now might get me a slap in my furry face. But there’s always next year. Who knows, with all those silly Christmas songs being introduced, maybe someone will sing one that goes, "I saw mommy smooching Nevada Jack underneath the mistletoe last night…" I know it don't exactly rhyme, but give me a break. Us bears aren't know for our musical ability.