THURSDAY
Squirrels. The ones in our yard are really aggravating me!
They have been going after the tomatoes, as well as the neighbor’s. During the dry times, they suck the juice out of the tomatoes.
They also break into the walnuts right over my deck, and side kitchen walk. The shells cut into our bare feet when we walk on the deck, land in my coffee as I write, hit my laptop… there are tons of places to chomp away, but they prefer to eat right over my deck. I looked up one morning as shells fell into my coffee and the damned thing was on the limb right above me. Naturally, Flyer and Logan must not have been out with me or else the little varmint would never have ventured so close to the deck.
Thursday afternoon, I went to Wal-Mart and bought a BB gun. I checked some trap/cages at Harbor Freight, but decided it would be too much a hassle. I can at least shoot near them and hopefully scare them away.
 
I was on the deck filling the BB rifle with BB’s when Jose returned from work. He asked why I bought a BB gun. I explained.
 
Again, the typical tight lipped grin, followed by the “Ah, I see!” head nod (it is better than rolling his eyes, so I allow it). With that he said, “Just be careful and wear protective eye gear, and don’t shot towards the house. That pisses off Uncle Destin.”
 
And he turned to leave the deck via my study. He returned, picked up the cat, Logan, who was resting on the rail, and said, “Just in case…” and went inside with her.
Bill Murray in CADDYSHACK. Sent to me by a student who
must think she is hilarious!
 
FRIDAY
Friday I was doing yard work – trimming shrubs. For some reason my right wrist gave out… the electric shears sliced into the end of my left middle finger to the bone, cutting the finger nail.
 
I ran it under cold water for a while, and the bleeding finally subsided. I dipped it in turpentine – yes, you read it correctly – turpentine, cleaned it off, put some antibiotic ointment and bandages on it. And then some Ibuprofen.
Turpentine – Medicinal elixir

Turpentine and petroleum distillates such as coal oil and kerosene have been used medicinally since ancient times, as topical and sometimes internal home remedies. Topically it has been used for abrasions and wounds, as a treatment for lice, and when mixed with animal fat it has been used as a chest rub, or inhaler for nasal and throat ailments. Many modern chest rubs, such as the Vicks variety, still contain turpentine in their formulations.

My junior year, the evening before state solo and ensemble contest, I was washing dishes and dropped a glass in the sink. The tops of my fingers were sliced right across the tips – where I need them for piano and saxophone. Mother grabbed a towel and held my fingers as I hit the kitchen floor (my own blood knocks me out cold). I woke up, looking at Mother hovering over me. She grabbed the turpentine from the cabinet, poured it into a small cup and dipped my fingers into it.

The next day, I was playing piano and saxophone in seven different events – as though nothing had happened the evening before.

Yes – turpentine! And for all my college friends who laughed at me when I explained that cows lying down in the field meant rain was coming… just try the turpentine! It works!

Our neighbors across the street (in Elwood, Indiana), Luther and Ida Myrick, were from the hills, hollers, dales, and woods of Kentucky. Luther had been a caller for the Jellico Square Dance in Jellico, Tennessee. Ida’s grandmother had grown up with Abraham Lincoln near Hodgenville, KY, and he sent her a signed card d’visit when he was president.

And how many of you thought you would not get a history lesson out of this one???

They had a ton of mountain remedies which we swore by, and still do! The only thing I never tried was Luther’s homemade whiskey for a chest cold. Ida swore by it!

So turpentine…. as Ida always told us, “Always put it on a fresh cut. It won’t hurt. But if you put it on an old cut you’ll be screaming and pissing like a race horse bit by a storm fly.”

PS. And for the family? I am sure you understand why Grandpa Virgil was mentioned in the subject line!