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Sunday, March 05, 2017

The cold persists - only 6 above tonight, which is only slightly less cold than last night.  I don't think the wind is blowing as hard tonight and that is a good thing.  The sun was nice today, but too cold for me to go outside.  A couple weeks ago I got a chest cold and I'm still coughing, so I figured I didn't need the aggravation of going outside and having the cold air set off more coughing.  Besides, my energy level is nil - I think I need some "Father John's" medicine.  Does anyone remember that?  I used to take that when I was a little tyke.  I think it was supposed to be an iron supplement or something, recommended for children.

I just Googled it and found out Father John's is still being manufactured, although it sounds like it's a different concoction than when I was a kid.  On Wikipedia it said it was for coughs, a combination of cod liver oil and something else and tasted like licorice.  That doesn't sound right to me because I hated cod liver oil and never liked licorice, but I distinctly remember liking the taste of Father John's medicine.  I'm surprised it's still made. 

When I was very young, there were two other things I remember not liking one bit:  maple syrup and molasses.  They were just too sweet.  My Grandmother Bolton would often give all the little kids molasses on home-made bread, and every one of my dozen or so cousins loved it, but I preferred just the plain bread.  Also, my family didn't understand why I would drink warm sap by the cupful but wouldn't touch maple syrup.  I sort of liked when they did "sugar on snow," but really preferred the sour pickles that were usually served along with it "to cut the sweet." 

I liked the salty smoked herring my Grandfather Bolton used to buy.  When I was boarding in Cabot during high school and got a cold, I would buy a few smoked herrings at the store.  I liked best little pieces of the fish on saltine crackers washed down with a big mug of hot lemonade or apple cider.  That seemed like the ideal comfort food when I was feeling lousy.  Then there was the time a few years later when I was first working in St. Johnsbury and came home to the farm with a really bad cold.  My Grandfather Bolton mixed a "hot toddy" and told me to drink it down.  I did as he said, and went to bed.  I'm not sure how I stayed on that bed, it was whirling around so, but I did, and either fell asleep or passed out, I don't know which.   I don't remember if the cold was better when I woke up or not, but I never accepted one of his "hot toddies" again.  

That was the first time I learned that he kept a bottle of whiskey "for medicinal purposes."  It was actually only used for such.  I never knew him to take a social drink, and he didn't tolerate anyone having alcohol on the farm.  There was never wine or beer or anything else around - just that one bottle of whiskey carefully hidden away on a high shelf in a back room closet. 

That's not to say at least two or three of his sons, my uncles, didn't try his patience when they were young - they certainly did, but I believe they must have felt his anger and disappointment and learned their lessons well, for none of the five of them got into serious trouble that I know of.  

I don't have any smoked herring - haven't tasted it for years, and have no real desire to.  These days I try to limit salt, and the herring, if I remember correctly, are pretty salty.  I'll stick with the hot lemonade.





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