Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Here's Something For That Cough
My Parents weren't drinkers.
I remember my Dad losing a lot of blood once (after a surgery and almost died, but that is a story for another day), and one of his doctors recommended that he drink a glass of red wine a day for a while. I don't have any idea if that really helps your blood build back up, but I remember how strange it was to have a wine bottle in the house.
And in one of those little-used cupboards, right above the refrigerator, sat a bottle of Crown Royal. This bottle of Crown was probably older than me, so seldom did it get brought out.
It was only brought out for special occasions.
Not what you're thinking though, what my parents considered special enough to break out the bottle of whiskey (or whatever the heck Crown Royal is) was when one of us had a cough that wouldn't bow to the onslaught of Vicks Formula 44.
If the Formula 44 didn't kill the cought, it was time for the dreaded hot toddy, which is what my parents called the concoction of whiskey, ribbon cane syrup or sorghum, and lemon, and Lord knows what else, they would mix up and we would have to drink.
It was, for me, a measure of my sickness, when the hot toddy was resorted to.
But, I endured, and even drank alcohol by choice in several misspent years in my late teens, but the hot toddy prepared by Mom or Dad had a special place of horror in my life.
Younger Brother, who has a much more vivid imagination than I could ever hope to have, was also the recipient of the occasional hot toddy, my parent's version that is.
Until he died, my Dad used to laugh and loved to tell the story of how, when Younger Brother was in high school and very sick, they brought out the Crown Royal and made him drink a hot toddy or two for what ailed him. (Heck, it was probably the same bottle they made mine from years earlier.)
Dad said that Younger Brother, after choking down another hot toddy, looked at them with disgust and said, "You know? I'm the only kid in all of Neville High School whose parents are witch doctors." He went back to bed.
And Sainted Mother and Don C. had a good laugh at his expense.
Dad was perversely proud of having been referred to as a witch doctor, and Sainted Mother still is.
Every time we're all together, I try to think of some way to bring that up. Sainted Mother still gets a good laugh out of that. Younger Brother still gets a look of bitterness on his face from the memory of the taste of those horrible, lemony, hot toddys.