Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Put the Lime in the Coconut...

She put the lime in the coconut, she called the doctor, woke him up,
And said, "Doctor, ain't there nothin' I can take,
I say, Doctor, to relieve this belly ache?”

Ah-choo!!! Cough, cough, sniff. I feel a cold coming on. It brings back memories of when I was little. Back then when I got a cold my mother would put Vicks VapoRub on my chest and neck. Then she’d get an old wool sock (clean) and wrap it around my neck. She’d safety pin it so it didn’t come off. I would wear that to bed. She swore it cured the cold. Now if you happened to get a cold at my grandmother’s house you actually had to eat the Vicks. She would rub it on your chest but she also made you take a big glob and swallow it, to cure your sore throat. If she was out of Vicks she used Mentholatum. She also made me put Vicks in my nose. I know I shouldn’t like it, but it’s a habit now, and I do like it. I don’t eat it, but if you’re around me much you might notice a menthol odor every now and then. I love Vicks. Through the years I’ve probably eaten or inhaled a case of it!
My friend and neighbor, who lived across the street from me when I was growing up, had to do something different when she got a cold. Her mother had a lot of interesting cures. It was still Vicks VapoRub, the magic salve, but she had to rub it on her feet. Then she put socks on and went to bed. This was her mom’s remedy. And interestingly enough, it seems to work.
Having a headache at my friend’s house brought out the vegetables. Her mom would cut a potato, make whoever had the headache lay down with the raw potato on their forehead, and wait until the headache went away. She said the potato drew out the pain. I was thinking maybe lying down and being still might have helped, right? Another vegetable cure was for colic. When my son was a baby they said he had colic because he’d cry. Maybe it was colic but it was because his tummy hurt that he cried. The cure was to boil onions in water. After they were boiled, the onion ‘tea’ went in his bottle. He’d drink that, his stomach would ease and he’d be okay. He’d belch and it was almost unbearable. He had the worst breath ever for a baby! I guess it helped things move around in there and it really did help his belly.
Treating cosmetic ailments was another of her specialties. If you had a pimple, she had a cure. Whenever someone had a blemish she would cut up the nipple to a baby bottle and tape a square of the rubber over the pimple. It had to stay there for at least three hours. I don’t know if it worked but it kept the fingers away from the spot. If you did give in and caused the rubber patch to fall off, you had to keep it on longer next time. If it was night you could put toothpaste or calamine lotion on the spot and go to bed.
I used to get sunburned when I was younger. Someone told my mother about a magical cure that would take the burn out and keep you from peeling. I am fair skinned and sunburn very easily. I don’t just get pink. I blister and swell up. It’s not fun. When I got a sunburn she would have me rub vinegar on it. I’d put the vinegar all over the burned area and it seemed to take the heat out. It stunk to high heaven as well, but it was worth it. After a while the smell went away. If you did it at bedtime you could sleep pain free and you didn’t stink too badly in the morning! Funny thing though, and I don’t know if I just thought so or what, but it worked as far as I could tell. It did take out the heat. But I still peeled.
It’s interesting, the family remedies you learn of that were depended on to take care of all ailments. They are similar from family to family but different at the same time. Of course there was always plain old chicken soup that is common in most families. But I don’t remember getting soup too much. Were my mother and grandmother secretly trying to kill me? Why didn’t they just give me hot tea or chicken soup? Instead I had to eat large quantities of petroleum jelly flavored with camphor. It clearly says on the box that it is for external use only!
It also says do not use by mouth, with tight bandages, in nostrils or on wounds or damaged skin. Well, gee…we did all of the above! Just imagine the power the Vicks would have had if it had just been melted in the chicken soup! Boy, I’m glad they didn’t think of that!
What unique cure-alls did your family use? I’d like to know!

Put the lime in the coconut, drink them both together,
Put the lime in the coconut, then you feel better,
Put the lime in the coconut, drink them both up,
Put the lime in the coconut, and call me in the morning

The knitting is continuing. I’m on day 221, which is November 7. I had great plans of getting up, going to get the pancakes I’ve been craving, going to the Merry Marketplace, stopping in Lubbock then on to Amarillo. But because I procrastinated I didn’t get anything done but the trip to Amarillo. I did stop by Starbucks in Lubbock and that was refreshing. And I stopped to see the kiddos and that’s always a good feeling. I’m a little apprehensive about the trip but that’s because it’s for Susan’s funeral. The good thing is I’m spending the night with my dear friend Mindy. I chose gray wool for the day. It’s kind of a dark day but not completely black. November 8 is here, day 222, and I’m in Amarillo. It’s a sad day. But there are a lot of us here so it’s good in that respect. I haven’t seen some of the cousins in years. The service is very nice. I’m glad I was able to be there. I’ll take my time going back home. I chose teal with a sparkle, something called Grand Opera. It’s pretty and it reminds me that today was a sad day but there was a little sparkle when we were able to visit and the preacher did a great job for Susan. Day 223, November 9, I’m back on the road, to San Angelo for work. I will have driven almost 900 miles by the time I get back. But this is a good session. I’m enlightened! I can actually tell my bosses what this grant we are facilitators for is about. It’s good to finally know what it’s about should I be asked to explain! I chose something called Snowflake in a color called cloudy. It’s white and gray with a bit of color thrown in. It looked brighter in the skein than it does knit. November 10 is day 224. I’m meeting my daughter in law after work. Well, she’s not really my daughter in law but if I could hand pick, she’d be the one. We visit and laugh and generally have fun. I choose a light aqua colored dishcloth cotton. It’s a self striping and it’s only one of the colors. But it’s cheerful looking. Sniff. Sniff. I’ve got to stop knitting. I feel the need for some Vicks in the nose…
I say Doctor! Let me get this straight.You put the lime in the coconut, drink them both up,
Put the lime in the coconut, you such a silly woman!


  1. Oh my gosh - I can't believe you had to EAT Vicks! That is hilarious. We broke the rules too and put it in our nostrils - I love the smell of it!

    I don't think we had any fun remedies - although my mom used to sing to us when we were sick, and that always seemed to work. :)

  2. Yes, she'd make me get a big glob on my finger and poke it down my throat as far as I could. Gag!

    I was looking to see how long Vicks had been around and read that some people melted it in milk and drank it for a sore throat. Also, one of the things it works really well on is nail fungus. Gross, huh! There were nasty pictures of feet smeared with Vicks. Then they put their socks on and were cured I guess. Ewwww.

  3. I've never been stung by a bee, so I don't know if it's true, but I heard Vicks draws out the stinger if it gets stuck in your skin.

  4. Pam, you may be right. I have heard to put something like vaseline on a tick if you had one (I haven't thank goodness) and it smothers it or something. Vicks would work the same way. It really may be the answer to all ills! :)

  5. Just got the funniest cookies idea...oh yes, and thanks for not trying to kill me by making me eat Vicks. My favorite home remedy was for legaches. Nothing soothes them better than lying with your mom and letting he keep them warm.

  6. Oh let's separate that word. Leg Aches! Every time I read it I think, what is a Le Gache? ha ha! Funny, that's the one Bryce remembered too!