Gardening requires lots of water,
Mostly in the form of perspiration!
Mom and Dad spent much of their summer perspiring and watering the garden. A large part of their garden was a potato patch. They would pile dirt around the base of the potato plants to protect them from the sun by hilling them, hoeing carefully to avoid damaging any of the potatoes growing under the ground. These potatoes, a favorite comfort food, would last them through the winter if cared for properly.
Mom, a country girl at heart, had many uses for the potatoes. She always carried a raw potato in her apron pocket to prevent rheumatism, while her mashed potatoes and fried chicken dinner became a popular request for family and friends alike.
One morning the children, Mike and Rachel, were home from school, neither one feeling very well. Since poor little Rachel was running a fever, Mom told Rachel to lie down on the couch. Mom hurried to the kitchen to peel some potatoes, which she wrapped in a clean pillowcase before taking them to the living room.
“Rachel, I’m going to place these on your forehead. They’ll draw the fever out and you’ll feel better soon.” Rachel curled up on the couch under a colorful afghan, and soon fell asleep.
In the meantime, Mike complained of an earache. “Mom, would you fix something for my ear? You’re almost magic the way you make everyone feel better.” Mom dashed to the kitchen where she was boiling potatoes for supper. After she mashed some potatoes finely in a ricer, she wrapped the warm mashed potatoes in a clean kitchen towel, then placed the towel around his ear.
“These mashed potatoes will keep your ear warm as toast, because potatoes stay warm for a long time. Be sure to keep them on your ear. You’ll feel better by supper time,” Mom explained in a soft voice to her son. Since Mike was a busy little boy, he didn’t want to lie down so instead sat on the porch whittling a stick with his penknife.
Soon Mom heard Mike cry out, “Ouch! A bee stung me.”
“Don’t worry,” Mom advised, “a slice of potato is just what you need to cool down the swelling from that bee sting. Hold it on the sting while you take the dog for a walk.”
At supper that evening when they sat down to golden brown fried chicken and mashed potatoes, Rachel sat in deep thought. “Mom, I can’t believe there are so many uses for a potato. But the best of all is your mashed potatoes, especially with that creamy chicken gravy.”
The smile on Mom’s face lit up the room. Next year they definitely would plant more potatoes!
This story appeared in the Daily Jeffersonian of Cambridge, Ohio as part of Rainy Day Writers stories for Mothers’ Day. While the picture is actually one of my mom and dad, the names of the children in the story are fictitious. If you have any great ideas that your mom used to cure aches and pains, please let me know as I enjoy using natural remedies whenever possible.
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