It’s that time again. Cold and flu season. Adults complain of scratchy throats, kids wipe their noses on their sleeves, and waiting time at the doctor’s office is lengthy.
Some people get flu shots while others just hang in there and hope those nasty little, sneaky germs won’t find them.
But for those unlucky enough to get caught by the satanic flu, there are over-the-counter drugs or the old-fashioned remedies.
I have had friends put onions and garlic in their socks as a cure, which is why no one in the office came near them. Others use vapor rub like some exotic lotion. But my favorite came from a neighbor of ours in North Carolina. When I say “neighbor,” that is actually stretching it a little.
In the early 80s, our house was surrounded by three huge tobacco fields and a church with a cemetery. About a half mile in each direction lived another human being. The nearest store was 30 minutes away, and in that era, pharmacies did not open on weekends or nights.
Of course, it was at this time that my husband got sick.
It was a Thursday night, and I was worried. He had to preach on Sunday, had no one to fill in for him, and really needed some medication fast. I tried to find a pharmacy that was open, to no avail. Frantic, I began to call friends from church, but either no one was home, or they had nothing in their medicine cabinets to share.
At this point, I was desperate. I remembered the elderly couple that lived further down from our church. I really didn’t know them well; they attended the local Methodist church. Knowing their reputation for being dear sweet people, I decided to call the Pecks for help, hoping they wouldn’t mind assisting the local Baptist preacher.
Mrs. Peck answered the phone, and after repeating myself several times and shouting out what I needed (she was hard of hearing), she told me to come over and get her home remedy.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, maybe a tea or cough syrup. But I certainly didn’t expect to see a small dixie cup full of a bluish, brown liquid held out to me.
I stared at it.
What was I supposed to do with this nasty stuff? Mrs. Peck filled me in.
“Give your husband one spoonful of this every 4 or 5 hours,” she said in her quavering voice as she tottered to the door with her cane. “He will be fine in no time,” she assured me.
Grateful for any help whatsoever, I thanked her profusely and took my foil-covered dixie cup home.
I walked into the bedroom and set the cup on the nightstand.
“Honey,” I said. “Sit up and take one spoonful of this stuff from Mrs. Peck. She assures me that this is a home remedy that will make you feel better.”
I went into the kitchen to get a spoon, and when I returned, I stared in horror at the cup. It was empty. My poor sick husband hadn’t heard me and had consumed the entire cup. Well, I figured that if he showed any signs of dying, I would call an ambulance.
He immediately went to sleep. And slept. And slept.
After the first 24 hours, I just assumed he would wake up at any moment, but he didn’t. Now I was extremely concerned and decided to call Mrs. Peck to find out the ingredients of the “home remedy” so I could let Poison Control know at the hospital or the police in case we had killed him.
I called Mrs. Peck and told her that my husband was still sleeping after two days, and I was worried. I needed to know what was in the concoction she had given my husband.
“Concoction? Oh, you mean the home remedy?” said Mrs. Peck.
“Yes,” I said. “What was in the cup?”
“Well, nothing but my great-granddaddy’s blueberry wine,” she said. “The bottles have been in the basement all these years. I only use them as a tonic when sick. Give him time, and he will sleep it off.”
Relieved, I thanked her once again and waited for my husband to come back to the land of the living.
On the third day, my husband abruptly sat up in bed, grinned at me, and said he felt great.
I was so relieved. Then he asked me what the medicine was he had taken.
“It was Mrs. Peck’s great-granddaddy’s homemade blueberry wine,” I said. “She said it would cure anything.”
My husband just blinked at me for a minute. Then he said, “Her great-granddaddy? Vick, Mrs. Peck is
92 years old, so that means I drank 180-year-old wine!”
No wonder he slept for two days. It was a great home remedy, and it did exactly what she said…it cured him of everything. Not bad at all. I wish I still had some.
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