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|Date News Posted: July 27, 1997
Before the days 0f doctors or when folks lived so far back in the hills a doctor couldn't get there if he wanted to , you had to kinda' take care of yourself and your family. You had to make up your own cures, you had to tend to your own cuts or wounds if you were shot or stepped on by your horse. Some of the remedies a person was just forced to make up by them self and what ever worked they would most times pass on to a neighbor at church the following Sunday. Some of the old cures for the common cold listed into the dozens in some of the old home cure books. My Dad being a man of few words and hardly ever got sick himself, didn't have a lot of tolerance for those who did. One example I well remember is when we (my brother or I) would get a cold and start coughing he would give us a half of a box of ex-lax, I don't know if it did anything for the cold or not but I do know this, you were afraid to cough.
Growing up as a kid in Kentucky just about nothing bothered you and just about every one would help you if you needed help, if your barn burnt or fell down the women folk would do the cookin' and the men folk would build a new barn. lookin' back at it now it kinda' seems they made it into a special occasion when something happened, it gave the women a chance to swap stories and new recipes and about the new babies that were born since the last time they had all got together, and the men folk a chance to talk about things they couldn't talk about in the church parking lot. I remember a first cousin we had I really felt sorry for him most of the time, He was so ugly he had to wear a pork chop bone tied around his neck so the dogs would play with him. He was alone most of the time though, the bone kept fallin' off and the dogs would eat it.
One of my grandma's was born, raised and died in Kentucky, I don't reckon she ever left there even for a visit, if she did I don't ever remember it. My one uncle that never got married lived there with grandma, we called him Uncle Elmer, the only reason I can figure out why we did that was because that was his name. They never did have running water they never had electric lights and they never did have gas, well, my Uncle did now and then but we won't get into that. Uncle Elmer used to bathe down in the creek behind the house, I remember one day him coming back up through the field a cussin' under his breath, I said "what's the matter uncle Elmer" he said "my dang long handles floated away" he got the rest of his clothes on, put a bridal on old Mert (that was his and granny's horse) and road down to the farmers house that lived down stream and caught um as they floated by, It was a slow movin' stream.
Granny and Uncle Elmer never did have a lock on the doors, the only thing that kept them closed was a little board with a nail through the middle, they would just turn it sideways and the door would stay shut and they had a little hook on the outside so if they went down to pick up some horse feed they could hook it when they left.Granny always had to go with Uncle Elmer when they bought feed, not that she gave a hoot about what was in the bag but she sure gave a hoot about the bag 'cause them bags came in all kinds of pretty flower patterns and stripes and things and grandma used them to make Uncle Elmer shirts and when she thought he had enough shirts she would use them to make quilts. They could have put gold dust in them feed bags and not put a pattern on it and them bags would still be a layin' there. And speaking of quilts, I don't ever remember grandma throwing away an old shirt or an old anything, she cut um up and sewed them together and next year you'd be a sleepin' under it. Reminds me of a song I wrote many years ago, one of the lines was, "Every piece of grandma's quilt has a story of it's own, the quilt still keeps me from the cold, but grandma now is gone.
You knew I'd get around to music sooner or later didn't ye ?. By the front door and over to the left sit a three foot tall and about half that wide big old Crosley radio. Uncle Elmer had pulled a wire through the corner of the bottom of the window up the wall outside and through a hole in the porch and when he pulled the wire all out into the front yard he tied a rock to the end of it and stood out there for an hour trying to throw the rock over the oak tree in the front yard with the wire tied to it, he dang near killed himself, the tree was fifty-sixty foot high but he kept on 'till he got it and he hooked the other end to the old radio and he had himself an antenna. I never once heard anything except the Grand Ole Opry on that radio ever Saturday night, they didn't want to waste the battery, that sucker weighed twenty pounds. You never talked when the Opry was on you just sat there and listened and kept your mouth shut. They always ended the show with a great old gospel song I remember one night them closing the show with "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" Grandma told Uncle Elmer "ask um to sing that one again".
I sat down here tonight to write a nice story about George Jones. I'll do it pretty soon George so hang on. This bein' Sunday night I just thought I'd tell you some stories, you don't have to read um I just felt like flippin' back through the pages of some great old memories. My Dad was from a family of 13 kids the only one of those kids that wasn't a boy was a girl, I never did see her though she was gone before I was born . My Uncle Charlie left home at an early age 15-16 and moved to Indianapolis, he got himself a job in the cemetery up there, it was a big one, at that time it was one of the biggest in the country I reckon, at least Uncle Charlie said so, anyway it was all cut up into sections and Uncle Charlie was the caretaker of section 41 I think it was, and in that section was and still is I reckon buried John Dillinger, Uncle Charlie said he got to work one morning and about two thirds of the dirt had been removed from John's grave, I ask Uncle Charlie if Mr. Dillinger was trying to leave, Uncle Charlie said he was probably just going out for a bag of White Castles (them's them little bitty hamburgers) and it got daylight and was afraid somebody might recognize him and shoot him so he just stayed put. Uncle Charlie was pretty funny some times anyway the dirt part being dug up is true and the cemetery people had Charlie and his helpers fill up the hole with cement. One day he was out there a mowin' and a big ol' car pulled up, Uncle Charlie said it looked to be about a mile long and a guy got out of the back all dressed fit to kill (that may not be the right choice of words) but anyway, he said "Where's John Dillinger"?. My Uncle said "he's right over there" and walked with him part way to the grave site. The guy had brought a bunch of flowers with him, he laid them on the grave and walked back to where Uncle Charlie was leaning up against a tomb-stone, he said "I want to thank ye" and stuck something in Uncle Charlie's shirt pocket and walked back to his car, got in the back seat and they drove away. It wasn't until Uncle Charlie got home that night that he remembered the guy had stuck something in his pocket, It was a hundred dollar bill. Later Uncle Charlie was to read in the paper and match the face to the picture that was printed there of the guy who had visited John Dillinger's grave, it was Baby Face Nelson. Uncle Charlie 'bout messed his pants.
Some Great Old Remedies (To be used only if your doctor is playing golf)
If a friend develops Lock-Jaw * Try to sneak up behind him when he is not expecting it and in a very loud voice SCREAM BOO === If this does not work,(and you're still alive) make a poultice of raw beets, place in a Dukes Mixture tobacco sack (make two bags) place one bag on each jaw, wrap his or her head as though the person had a tooth ache with the bags tightly against the jaws. Three months later call the person long distance from Houston, if he answers you, you'll know it worked, if he don't wait six months and call again.
SNAKE-BITE * Now this is a tricky one and it all depends on where the snake bite is if you want to help at all. Mix a quart of sulfur and a cup of lard-with a stick or wooden spoon cover the bite area, If by sundown the person is not dead go on to step two. (step 2) Mix a water glass full of chipped onions and a half a glass of salt moisten with a quarter glass of vinegar and apply to the bite. It has been said that for a snake bite, with a small knife you should make a small incision and suck the venom from the bitten area. Depending on where that area is you might just want to let the patient just go ahead and croak.
HEMORRHOIDS * Take a turtle, put it into a pot, well covered on the fire, leave it until it is entirely burnt : then take it off the fire and reduce it into powder which you will apply on the hemorrhoids, Now the book says that after two or three applications of this remedy the person will be cured...Man I could never do that, I love turtles, a frog maybe (just a joke folks)
If any of the above works, where should I send the bill ?. At any rate come back in two weeks.
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