Sunday, January 18, 2009


Like many folks, we marked the New Year accompanied by the creeping, crawling, aching crud. (Think, Thera-flu served in a champagne flute.) I’ve become accustomed to the ritual … but was wholly unprepared for recent news stories bashing Vicks Vaporub. Color me crestfallen.

Midst one early-morning coughing spasm, I was surprised by a sudden, biting emotion: I want my momma!

Now, mamma’s been gone for 5 years, but memories of childhood fevers make her absence even more hurtful.

Circa, 1950’s: At the first sign of a sniffle or sore throat, out came the ceremonial application of Vicks… liberally coated from chest to throat, my neck swaddled in an ancient strip of flannel and securely pinned. Salt-water gargle, a nearby vaporizer and extra steamer blanket completed the ritual. On really special occasions, she’d allow me to come downstairs to watch TV… to languish on the living room sofa ~ which boasted not one, but two (top and bottom!) freshly ironed sheets.
Warmed “honey milk” and tapioca pudding ….… why, being sick was practically pleasurable!

Let the experts say what they will, Vicks still has a place in my medicine cabinet … and in my heart.


  1. Now you made me miss my Mama:) But, wonderful memories conjured up with your post - the flannel Mom used was kind of beige color and very soft - methinks Grandpa's long johns!

  2. I certainly remember Vick's!!!
    This was a great post.


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