Winter continues moving along with more wet, cloudy days and mud everywhere.

I always called the month of February the “Season of Mud.” After January had passed with freezing, snowy, frigid days, the ground would begin to thaw and mud reigned supreme. This year, however, the ground has barely been frozen and mud has been an everyday thing.

Some folks may have enjoyed the mild weather, but I remember a year when we had similar weather. It was in 1997 when the day was 73 degrees in January, and my late Uncle Myles and I sat on the front porch and basked in the sunshine. My mother didn’t trust the warm weather though. She kept saying, “This weather is not natural. I remember one winter when we had the same kind of warm weather, and the following summer, we had a drought.”

The weather turned colder then, and that was the winter when my baby sister Susie drove down the steep hill from her home, struck a patch of black ice, and had a horrible accident. She broke her hip, her hand, and almost lost her foot. That was right before Christmas that year, and I guess history does repeat itself. Again, just before Christmas this year, she fell in her house and broke another hip. She wrote a poem after her previous accident, and I’d like to share part of it.


                             REFLECTIONS FROM A BEDPAN

                                                     By Susie O’Dell Loomis

                 While driving to church one Sunday morning,

                 My car struck a tree without any warning.

                 I received a concussion, I understand,

                 A broken hip, and ankle and hand.

                 I was hurt pretty bad, but I wasn’t quite dead,

                 They loaded me up; to the hospital we sped.

                 I lost two pints of blood, and needed a transfusion,

                 They found me a pint that they were through usin’

                 While on the fifth floor, the nurses were sweet,

                 They powdered my bottom and wiggled my feet.

                 They never complained when I asked for a shot,

                 My pillows rearranged, or I was too hot.

(There’s more of the poem, but I’ll skip down to the ending:)

                 I do want to send thanks for every gift, prayer and card,

                 It made my experience a little less hard.

                 But thank the good Lord, I’m now back at home,

                 And to keep me down will take more than “broke” bones.

Yes, our Susie needs prayer again, although she is improving, and up on her walker. Such is life in our family. Seems as if there is always a crisis—I remember Mom saying that the more members you have, the more heartaches abound. That may be true, but the more blessings you have also. Jerry Ranson of Hometown sent a poem that his late mother, Ethel Bennett wrote about home. He added, “If parents would take their marriage vows seriously, homes would have less divorce.” Here’s the poem:


                                         OUR HOME

                 A real home starts with two people,

                 Joined by God’s love divine,

                 Who share heartaches and disappointments,

                 Always keeping each other in mind.

                 A home is a place to be proud of,

                 ‘Tis here that we labor each day.

                 Always trying to make life more pleasant,

                 By the things that we do, or we say.

                 Thank God for our children, they’re special,

                 They sure make our life more complete,

                 There’s nothing more soothing to Mama,

                 Than the patter of their little feet.

                 We know we can’t keep them forever,

                 For soon they’ll be leaving the nest,

                 We pray they’ll remember the teaching,

                 For truly, we gave them our best.

                 Yet, home here with all its grand memories,

                 Will someday, we know, cease to be.

                 But home with Jesus our Savior,

                 Will last through eternity.




The flu bug has stalked our hills and brought a lot of folks to bed this winter.  I was thinking about some of the old time remedies that we used when I was a young’en growing up in our hills.  Slippery elm bark was one of Daddy’s favorite herbal remedies for a sore throat. I loved to chew this inner, glue-like bark. It is not only good for the throat, but when moistened it makes an excellent poultice. We used a lot of camphorated oil and Vick’s salve (Vick’s Vapor Rub.) I remember Dr. Harper recommending camphorated oil, as Vick’s salve would open our chests to more cold.

Grandma Peach (Young) Bragg favored “Save the Baby” for chest congestion. My daughter-in-law Sarah was reminiscing how her mother used this medicine.  She would warm the bottle in a pan of hot water, and then warm an old cloth diaper in front of the fireplace. It would feel so good; that warm medication rubbed on your chest, and then covered with that soothing, warm diaper. We had to stay in bed then and not ‘fan around’ lest we opened our chest to more cold. It had to be washed off promptly the next morning, before we got out of bed.”

I went to the doctor after using “Save the Baby” and he laughed heartily when I told him about it. He said that it was an old Clay County remedy that he hadn’t heard about in years.  Well, it is still around, and so are a lot of old Clay Countains.

Are you getting weary of winter? We have passed the shortest day of the year, and now the days are growing a little longer. The seed and flower catalogs are beginning to arrive in the mail, cheering up a dreary winter day and pointing us toward spring and gardening time. These days can be used to plan and dream a little of luscious ripe tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers and sweet, juicy corn on the cob. All our days are good, if we use them wisely.