Thursday, April 26, 2012

Home Remedies

My Story Begins with a Note from Mary who says:
Nivea -- does this remind you of your mom?

Thanks for the tin of hand cream.

The smell of Nivea will always remind me of you.

I loved it when you told me the story of how you would eat a piece of Sen-Sen when you were missing grandpa.

Nivea will always be to me what Sen-Sen is between you and your Dad.

Mother, I found the following on-line.

I bet that you didn't know that Sen-Sen is the original breath freshener, those small hard pieces with a licorice flavor.

Sen-Sen -- the original breath freshener
Sen-Sen was developed in the late 1800s by T.B. Dunn and Co., perfume dealers in Rochester, New York. According to Dunn’s history, a plant supervisor by the name of Kerschner developed a formula for an effective and refreshing breath perfume.

In keeping with its perfumery roots, it was on the market list for many years as a cosmetic.

Any country store worth its salt, prominently displayed a box of the handy little packets within easy reach of its customers.

The product is still made on some of the original equipment that manufactured the product in the late 1800's."

Yours, for fresher breath,


And Now My Own Story about Smells and Products Begins:

Using Sheep Dip for its Intended Purpose
Image from 1908: Wikipedia 

You reminding me of Nivea and Sen-Sen as remedies for loneliness also made me of think of other home remedies: Sheep Dip, Rawleigh's Antiseptic Healing Salve and Bag Balm.

 I first heard about sheep dip while listening to my Great Uncle Val tell stories of miraculous healings.

This particular story was about having the skin of his arm ripped back, when he caught it in some mechanical equipment in Arts Cleaners.

With a dramatic sweep of his arm he would show me how he grabbed the skin, slapped it back in place, put sheep dip on it, and wrapped it with gauze.

Then he would have me inspect the scar that was left, proudly saying how he had done a better job than any physician could have done with that wound.

Rawleigh's Antiseptic Healing Salve
I knew the story must be true, because we had a jar of Rawleigh's at our house, which my dad used as the ultimate in salve for all sores – whether  for a cold sore at the corner of his mouth, or for a cut on my finger or for an athlete's blistered foot.

I used to imagine it was just a refined kind of sheep dip, for it could do everything.

One touch of that tar-like salve brought instant healing .

I don’t know if there was an antiseptic agent in the salve, or if it was the putrid smell of the product that chased germs away.

I saved that can, since there was still some salve in it when Doral was disposing of all of his worldly goods.

Of course, the tin reminded me of him and of Uncle Val's story telling.  That is why I saved it.

When Catherine became a Dr. I gave the tin to her, hoping that when the best of medicines failed, she could turn to the memories of her pioneer past where there was always a last hope for a miracle ingredient.
... the bust of a cow on the top of the container ...

This month, when I was visiting Mary’s, I had some cracks on the edges of my nails – too much yard work without the protection of gloves.

My own fault.

Mary brought another home cure to my bedroom.

 “You can’t buy this at Lee Valley tools (except in Alberta).”
Bag Balm Instructions
For Sore Teats and Hard Milkers
Apply the Balm 1 Hour Before Night Milking

Then she showed me Bag Balm. My fingers were aching.

I would have tried anything.

“I know it is greasy,” Mary continued, “but those cracks will go right away if you just let the salve go into your fingers”.

Oh how I wish I could talk to my Uncle Val again and introduce him to modern alternative home cures, at least for loneliness.


1 comment:

  1. And what is the cure for loneliness? reading the larch haven blog, I think.