Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


April 24, 2012

Recalling the tried and true

ASHLAND — A few days ago, as I was searching for something else, I found a bottle in the back of the bathroom cupboard.

I smiled when I saw the words “Burgoon’s Cordial” on it.

Burgoon’s was a popular remedy up home, a product made locally and given any time we suffered any sort of gastric distress.

A year or two ago, I tried to buy some but discovered that the company no longer offers it. Since my need for it is as much sentimental as physical, I decided a bottle of pink stuff would do as well on my bathroom shelves.

I’m not sure if the cordial itself was the cure for tummy upsets or if one’s belief in the homeopathic medicine did the trick. I do know that my kids would stop complaining after a spoonful of the stuff, which was good enough for me.

Finding that bottle with the bit of crystallized cordial made me wonder about all those other home medicine necessities that have come and gone in my life.

The brand name has long been forgotten, but there was always a tin of tar-like drawing salve at my mother’s house. If a splinter or thorn wouldn’t come out with judicious use of a sterilized needle and tweezers, out would come the drawing salve.

The dark and stinky stuff would be liberally applied to the pad part of an adhesive bandage. The bandage would then be placed on the spot where the stubborn whatever lay beneath the skin.

A severe warning followed that action, and we were usually pretty good at not pulling off the bandage and looking to see if anything had happened. A few days after its application, my mother would remove the bandage.

With luck, the splinter or thorn was on the gooey part. If not, the fiendish sticker would be near enough to the surface that the aforementioned needle and tweezers could pluck it right out.

As my children will attest, they were raised — as I was — with the admonition that there better be something wrong if we were heading for the doctor. That meant routine stings and scrapes were handled by whatever adult was on the scene.

Infection around a fingernail? Wrap a particular weed leaf around it and wait a few days.

Bee sting giving you pain? A big dab of toothpaste should take care of it.

Stub your toe? Here’s ice in a washcloth to hold against it.

Bad headache? Drink a cup of coffee and eat a chocolate bar and you’ll be fine.

I had surgery on my arm and hand last month and while I’m not worried about scars, some other family members are.

Foremost among them is my daughter who reminded me, more than once, that I really needed to get some Vitamin E oil to put on the incisions so they’ll fade to a thin pale line.

Now, I’m all for home remedies, but not quite as enthusiastic as my father was. I loved the man, but I always headed to my mom when he’d grab his pliers and tell me he could take care of that loose tooth.

And you don’t want to know how long or how far I ran when he told me that he had no problem with my ears being pierced — and could do it for nothing with the single hold punch he kept in his desk drawer.

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net


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