I have vivid childhood memories of waking just before dawn with the unmistakable odor of bacon in the air.
That smell did not come from Mom cooking a breakfast of bacon, sausage and eggs in the kitchen. In fact, I can’t remember Mom ever cooking anything for breakfast except toast. Oh, she might cook sausage and pancakes for dinner at night, but never for breakfast.
From the time I was 4 or 5 years old, my three sisters and I were on our own for breakfast. That was fine with me because breakfast has always been my favorite meal and I knew from an early age just what I liked and did not like.
So, instead of rising to the smell of Mom cooking breakfast, I would get up, head to the kitchen, pull a box of Wheaties from the cabinet and milk from the fridge, put a couple of slices of bread in the toaster and proceed to fix everything I needed to tide me over until lunch.
So, if I was not smelling Mom fixing breakfast, where was the odor of bacon coming from? Well, it came from the slab of raw bacon Mom had taped to my nose the night before.
I had developed a boil or something on my nose, and nurse Mom had decided that the fat from the bacon would pull the icky goo from the boil and I would be fine by morning.
So did it work? Frankly, I don’t know. By the time I awoke the next morning, I was starving and I was only interested in taking that slab of bacon off my nose and putting it into a frying pan as quickly as possible. Maybe, just maybe, the boil was not quite as bad as it had been the previous night, but that could be because the boil had healed on its own and the bacon had nothing to do with it.
But you would never tell that to Mom. She was a true disciple of raw bacon as the miracle drug of the 1950s. If I burned myself, put a little bacon fat on it. If I cut myself, bacon fat would help it heal much faster.
The other home remedy I found helpful in my youth came from Grandma Cannon, who was a gentle lady in every sense of the word. She was always dressed up and on her way to a meeting of Eastern Star, Colonial Dames or some other meeting where the women stood around reading really boring passsages from a book. I was rarely forced to go to these meetings, and when I was, it was always cause for a good, long nap.
As I have written many times, I had chronic ear problems as a child and, as a result, I sometimes would get an earache when I was visiting Grandma and Aunt Billie, two sisters who lived together for many years. When that happened, Grandma would reach into a drawer, pull out a long cigar, light it, inhale and blow smoke into my aching ear.
I always found it funny seeing Grandma smoke a big cigar, but I also admit the warm smoke in my ear felt good. I don’t think it helped cure my earache, but it did ease my pain.
Not long ago, I cut myself while working in the kitchen. I thought about putting a piece of raw bacon on my wound, but alas, we did not have any bacon in the house. So I went to the emergency room and had the wound glued shut.
In hindsight, the glue probably worked better than the bacon, but the bacon would have been a lot cheaper, and as a lifetime tightwad, cheaper is always better.
JOHN CANNON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (606) 326-2649.