Thursday, May 29, 2014

"Hurts Like A Sunny Gun"

My knee started hurting this morning when I was on the tread mill which is when "it hurts like a sunny gun" popped into my head. It is something my Grandma Ridnour used to say (instead of son of a gun) when we were little and got hurt. She also used to say about our owies, "it's a long way from your heart", meaning our heart wasn't going to stop and we weren't going to die from whatever the hurt was. When I was older I cut my finger. When Grandma said it was a long way from my heart, I held my hand over my heart and said, "no it isn't"! (She also used the sunny gun as: "Well, I'll be a sunny gun.")

I know I've used this photo of Grandma, Mom and me before, but it is my very favorite of the three of us. Not only did Grandma have a saying about hurts, she had a magic salve that would cure anything. She called it her 'green salve' - green because of the color, not because it was eco-friendly. One of the worst childhood owies was getting a splinter and having Mom dig it out with a needle. But with green salve we didn't have to go through trial by needle (which was worse than getting the splinter). All it took was a band aid smeared with some green salve. Apply. Wait a couple days and voilá, the splinter was magically drawn out onto the band aid. No needle surgery required.

Grandma's recipe for making green salve was her very own closely guarded secret. She would make a batch, distribute jars among family members and not make any again until someone ran out and requested more. Once the grandkids established homes of their own we received our own little jar of green salve.

I remember my green salve allowance as being in a used Mentholatum jar. Mentholatum was a stand-by of my Mom's and naturally became one of mine. Mom had plenty of those little green jars saved for the next batch of green salve. Every time she made it Mom and her sisters would tell Grandma she better let one of them help her so someone else would know how. Finally Grandma shared her secret recipe, which came to me written down in a little notebook of Grandma's that Mom had. I won't publish the exact recipe but some of the ingredients are lard, mutton tallow, beeswax and turpentine. Something Grandma called Paris Green is what gave the salve its pretty green color. Another name for Paris green is verdigris or copper acetate. And yes, it is poisonous.

I can promise you I won't be making a batch of Grandma's green salve. If there is anyone else in the family who wants to try it, let me know and I'll give you the recipe. In the meantime if I need or want a drawing salve an online search tells me there is a homeopathic drawing salve called Prid for sale at Walmart.

Other staples of the medicine chest when I was a kid were liniment, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide (which I once tried to use to make my hair blond not realizing there was more to it than just pouring peroxide on my head), Rawleigh's Salve, Campho-phenique, mostly used on chigger and mosquito bites and the dreaded Mercurochrome, Mom's go-to for scrapes and scratches. Dang, that stuff stung. Interestingly it is now banned in the United States because of the mercury in it.

Grandma's green salve wouldn't have helped when my knee started hurting like a sunny gun this morning. About the only thing in that medicine chest from my childhood that might help is the liniment. Well, if it was good enough for the horses, maybe it would help my knees.

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