I have a sore throat. It made me think of homemade remedies. Which made me think of old wive’s tales,
which made me think…I wonder how many were made up out of spite? I mean, if I didn’t like someone, couldn’t I easily make up something that would be funny, and not work?
For example, let’s say a friend who really isn’t my friend tells me that they were going to the beach. I could say, “Don’t forget to pack some glue…..in case you get stung by a jellyfish. Pour glue on it and then rub it in with sand.” And then add, “I read about it on the internet.” And if you don’t lie, write it on your blog, read it, and then it isn’t a lie.You did read it on the internet. There are all ways to cover yourself from going to hell.
Years ago, people didn’t have the communication options that we now have. They lived far apart from each other and had to travel a long way to get to town. You had to make due with what you had on your homestead. So, if you got injured or sick, let’s say, burned, you just went and stood in the backyard, and thought, “hmmmmm, what to do, what to do…” and then you would grabbed some butter from your cold storage place and rubbed it on a burn. Actually, placing butter or similar greasy ointments directly on a burn is counterproductive since it can seal in the heat. People used plants like purple cone flower and herbs to help. Trial and error. Someone had to be the first to try it. I always wondered about the first person who drank milk..”See that cow over yonder…I think what I am going to do……” Yuck.
My mom used to tell me things all of the time. I am sure they were passed down from her mother, and so on and so on. Momisms..I have used a few myself. But, not the ones my mom used. Here are some of the Old Wives Tales my mom used to tell me…
1. “Quit cracking your knuckles. You will get arthritis like Grandma.”- Well, hell, Grandma’s fingers went every which way but they way there were supposed to. I could stare at her fingers forever. Well, not forever, because that would be stupid, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of those fingers. There were like bird claws. She was in pain alot. That’s why she took her “medicine.” Yeah, Grandma was a regular Granny Clampett. For real. I did ask her one time, “Grandma, did you crack your knuckles when you were little?” She replied, “Why do you ask me that, Vickie?” Well, hell, Grandma, take a look at your knuckles… I really wanted to know if her toes looked like that. She did walk weird…
2. “Don’t sit on the cold cement. You’ll get hemorrhoids.”- We didnt even ask what those were when we were little. I thought they were butt boils, but kept that to myself.
3. “Wash behind your ears or you’ll grow potatoes back there.”- I mean, seriously? Like I was going to fall for that one. Who the hell made that one up?
4. “Quit wrinkling up your nose. It will stick like that for the rest of your life.”- Ok, that only happened once…on an episode of the Twilight Zone. I always wrinkled up my nose. I was a picky eater, so that went hand in hand with, “Vickie, eat your carrots…..Quit wrinkling up your nose, it will stick like that for the rest of your life…..What do you mean, name one person?……Vickie, eat your carrots…..I can think of plenty of people whose faces have stuck……..Well, Reverend Harold for one.” Ok, I almost believed her then, but what I didn’t know is that Reverend Harold had a stroke, so every thing on one side of his face drooped. Harsh.
5. “Don’t swallow your gum. It will stick in your stomach.” -Well, I think it would be wrong if you shoved 5 pieces of bubble gum in your mouth and then swallowed it. You are just asking to choke and die. But, my mom said that gum stays in your stomach for 7 years, so if you keep swallowing it, your stomach will stick out. And then she added..like a Biafran baby. Well, I knew what a biafran baby looked like..we had the National Geographic in our house. That would be sooo politically incorrect nowadays. But, that’s mom for ya!
6. “Don’t so close to the tv. You will go blind.” Sometimes she would change this to “Don’t sit so close, you will go cross-eyed.” -Uh, wrong Mom…I could see going to school on a Monday with glasses and a cane. “Awww, poor Vickie, she must have been sitting close to the tv.” But, we liked sitting close to the tv while watching Casper and Romper Room. We didn’t have color..Just static from the rabbit ear antennae.
7. “Put that toad outside! It will give your warts!”- I was always bringing critters into the house. It was nothing to bring home salamanders, lizards, or baby bunnies on any given summer afternoon. She always told me I was going to get warts. I never did. Well, I had planters warts on the bottom of my foot. I guess she would say that is from walking barefoot where toads hopped..
8.” You have to wait a 1/2 hour to get back in the pool or you will die!” We heard that one all of the time. Like we were going to jump right back into the pool and do 50 laps. Come on! We splash and yell, “Hey, Mommy, look.” We are not going to get cramps. Other kids were able to go swimming. Not the Mendenhall kids. We sat out, with our towels wrapped around us, watching the big clock on the pool house wall. I didn’t understand. “Mom, why can’t we go back into the pool?” “Vickie, do you want to die? Do you?”
I enjoy reading Old Wive’s Tales. They are amusing and possibly painful. So, the next time your kid swallows 7 pieces of bubble gum,…..
Get ready to do the Heimlich Manuever..