So far this winter has been mild, especially when held up next to last winter’s kick to the frozen peas. It has been grand. But it is still winter and it does get cold and people spread their germs freely and there is not one among us safe from colds and runny noses. Case in point, my oldest son.
Last week he had a chest cold, nothing big. He was coughing and wheezing, had a snotty nose and some rosy cheeks, but it didn’t slow him down much at all. He managed to muscle through it and keep pushing his brother down, stealing various toys, and having epic tantrum’s not to be believed. What a champ, a true inspiration.
Typically, when the boys get sick they get usual: some cough syrup, chicken soup, orange juice and lots of kisses from mom and grandma. For the most part some combination of these things work, they diffuse the bomb and life plods along, tenuously.
But, sometimes…..it doesn’t work. Sometimes chicken soup is deposited in the toilet. Sometimes, modern science is shown to be a failure. Sometimes, the medical industrial complex has a tiny thumb jammed in its eye. No medicine, vaccine or flu shot that man has every dared create is strong enough to topple the virus. That’s when mama deploys the Tomahawk and Patriot missiles along with the Blackhawk choppers. The big guns. The home remedies.
My Serbian wife and her Serbian mother have been known to bust out remedies from the Old Country. A land peppered with small Apotekas that carry only antacid and brandy. A land in which doctors have been heard saying, “you’re not gonna make it”, to a teenager with an ingrown toenail. A land forced to find its own ways to cure everything from Typhoid to diaper rash with nothing but a garden, a book of matches and a can-do attitude.
So, last week I’m sitting at the table and my cold ravaged son crawls onto the chair next to me and says,
“Vladi ne carape”, as he is trying to get his socks off.
Saying he didn’t want his socks on was odd, but the request didn’t send up any fatherly red flags. I reached over to help him as his mama walked into the room, and then he jumped up and headed to the kitchen, on her heels. As he tip-toed off I asked;
“Hey. Why is Vlade walking on his tippy-toes?”
“Because I put onions in his socks and he doesn’t like it”, the wife responded.
Laughing I asked, “Is that why he is asking me to take his socks off?”
“Are you going to let him take them off? Come on, look at him.” I could barely choke the words out in between laughs.
At this point all I could smell in the house was onions. I don’t know how long he had been walking around with them, or how many miles he had covered in the house, but were he wearing a fit-bit, I would have been impressed.
“Seriously. Take them off of him.”
“He has to eat some onion first, then he can,” was the response.
And to my shock he did. He sat at the table and ate raw onion just so he didn’t have to walk around with them in his socks. To answer your question, no, he didn’t have to eat the ones he was wearing. He got fresh ones.
Does he feel better? Now he does.
Was it because of the onions? I’m not a doctor, I can’t answer that.
Old world versus new, medicine versus remedy, the battle over the medicinal properties of onions rages on.