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Home remedy memories

My mother always wore a copper bracelet on her left wrist. It wasn't anything fancy or decorative it was simply a three-quarter ring of copper. I remember asking her why she wore it and she told me it helped with her arthritis. She said it alleviated the pain and some of the swelling.

Now if you asked a doctor if copper would help with arthritis he may be skeptical but my mother was a firm believer. She swore by her little brown bracelet.

My parents grew up in a time when you hardly ever went to the doctor and they had lots of "remedies" that seem strange but they believed in them. One I participated in pretty regularly growing up and I can attest that it worked for me was using a piece of bacon fat to draw out a splinter. I can remember countless times that my parents would tape a piece of bacon fat over my splinter right before I was going to bed and in most cases the next morning the splinter would be drawn out of my finger and be resting in the bacon fat. Why it worked I have no idea but I saw it work many, many times.

My dad would also smear chewing tobacco juice on my bee stings. He would tell me that it would help with the pain and swelling. I can't say that this one was as effective as the bacon fat for me but my dad really believed in it. During the spring and summer of my childhood you could often find me with a spot or two of tobacco juice on my bee stings, especially on my feet. Sounds kind of gross by today's standards but we used it.

A home remedy that I remember dreading as a kid was gargling with warm, salt water for my sore throat. When I think of it I can still taste the horrible concoction. My mother would make me gargle with this lukewarm, nasty stuff every 30 minutes when I had a sore throat. I think I would have rather just suffered with the sore throat. But amazingly in three to four days this briny brew would work its magic and my throat would feel better. Now with the benefit of hindsight my throat probably would have gotten better on its own after three or four days but we chalked the cure up to the saline stew.

The toughest home remedy that my dad employed was a minor form of cauterizing the cuts I would get. If I got a fairly deep cut my dad would call me over and take a look at the wound. If he decided it was deep enough he would take out his pocket knife and his lighter, I knew what that meant. He was going to heat up the knife blade and then place the knife on my cut. He would hold the knife to my cut in several short two to three second bursts. It hurt but it would stop the bleeding. I don't remember the pain as much as I remember focusing all my efforts on not crying in front of my dad.

Home remedies can seem funny or odd or just plain crazy. I want to stress I am not endorsing or encouraging anyone to use the methods my parents employed. If you have an ailment or injury go seek professional help.

The reason I wrote about my parent's home medical care was to illustrate that their belief in their power was probably a strong contributing factor to their effectiveness. Some folks would call their belief so strong that it could be categorized as faith.

We all need faith in something, especially today. Don't suppress your faith, embrace it. If you don't think you have faith in yourself or something greater than yourself start searching for it today. It will make a striking difference in the quality of your life.

Dr. Martin Luther King said, "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

Start your climb today. If you can't believe in anything else believe that you can take that first step.

Because who knows where it will lead. I mean I saw former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre selling knee and ankle supports the other day that were laced with copper. My mom would have definitely been in agreement with Brett.

Figure out what you have faith in and follow it. Faith can move mountains or at the very least take a little of the sting out of life.

Editorial on 12/02/2018

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