5 September 2017

Just over a month ago, I wrote about an ongoing project that I am working on (See 2 August 2017), transcribing old editions of The Washington County News, the weekly newspaper of my home.  While it is imbedded with little snippets of humor,  most of which I won’t even claim to understand because I guess you had to have been there to get it, some of the funniest entries I’ve come across in the papers are the medical ads.  Yes, that’s right, the medical ads.

Now I’m pretty sure, or at the very least pretty hopeful, that these tonics, balms and elixirs pedaled in small-town newspapers across the country at the turn of the twentieth century,  were actually thought of as cures by their manufacturers and not grand money-making ruses.   But, viewing it from a “modern” vantage point, they seem pretty nonsensical; like Castoria that was touted to cure fever, sleeplessness, diarrhea and constipation in infants or Oxidine that was said to cure biliousness, fever, chills and even MALARIA!  Cure-all medications that could be conveniently mail-ordered or purchased at any local druggist for less than $1.00.

One of the advertisers of these wonder drugs that has repeatedly caught my eye is the Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company, who manufactured a vegetable compound for the cure of feminine ills.  Back aches, nervousness, sparks before the eyes, blues and even an impending sense of doom, apparently all documented symptoms of female weakness, didn’t stand a chance against this magic tonic.  See for yourself:


So when I came across an old Lydia E. Pinkham Cosco-sized medicine bottle in a local estate sale, its contents long-since drained by some haggard Southern woman,  I couldn’t help but smile, giggle, and immediately purchase the darn old thing.

Lydia Pinkham bottleHere’s to you Mrs. Lydia E. Pinkham and to your vegetable compound for still curing the blues almost 100 years later!


2 September 2017

And if a man starts to weaken, that’s a shame!
For ‘Bama’s pluck and grit have writ her name in crimson flame!

–Yeah Alabama by Ethelred Lundy Sykes

It is that time again.  Pigskins are back.  The first games of the season have been played.  The Crimson Tide has taken the field and The University fans down here in Dixie are as happy as a pig in slop!  Florida State University has been defeated 24 to 7, and all is well ya’ll for at least another week.

Now I’m not an avid football fan, which is sacrilege in my neck of the woods, tantamount to confessing a disbelief in Jesus Christ, but I have to admit there is something exciting about the boys taking the field, even for a sinner like me.  The grills are lit, the chips and dip are set out, and the spirits, both of the beverage and emotional kind, flow.  Anticipation has built and like starving men in the desert, parched and delirious, fans gather to feast.  And to cheer!

So it was for us.  Along with my husband’s former West Point classmate and his family in their beautiful downtown historic home, where I’d like to think countless others before us had tuned in to first games on rabbit-eared televisions and wood-encased radios; we watched, we ate, we talked, we laughed, we smiled and Alabama was victorious!

My maternal grandmother would’ve been proud.  She was a FAN, having had two sons play for The University back in the sixties.  Viewing from her armchair in her cavernous den, she would’ve helped Saban coach those boys to victory.  I hope she was watching from her heavenly den!

The 2nd was also my hubby’s 45th birthday!  So it was fortuitous that we were able to celebrate his MANY years with friends who knew him when he was young-er and spry-er!  A turtle ice cream cake from Maggie Moos,  great conversation, an Alabama win and the day was a wrap.