Friday, October 29, 2010


Y’all, I’m STILL hacking a bit with this silly cough!! It’s beginning to feel the way it did last year, when I thought it would never end and got worse and worse. . . that was from a reaction to medicine, which I kept taking and taking, and I’m going to write about that one soon---I was surprised---startled, even---by the people who had had THE SAME THING and didn’t know what was causing it.

Anyway, this unpleasant interlude reminds me of a long-ago time when I had a lingering cough, which prompted every single person who came into my office to part with their own Sovereign Recipe for the remedy.

There were Whiskey and sugar, in a spoon---still crunchy and with the few drops of Whiskey holding it together.

Whiskey with sugar stirred into a good-size glug of it

Whiskey and lemon, whiskey and orange juice, whiskey and Robitussin (don’t know quite who would win in that situation), Whiskey and honey, whiskey and lemon and honey---well you get the drift.

With the recurring thread, my desperation for a night’s sleep, and with only a bottle of Amaretto and some long-forgotten rum extract in the house, I begged a tot from my always-supplied Father-in-Law. The imparting of his OWN tried-and-true recipe accompanied the glug, which he poured into a little pimiento jar with a red lid. I DO doubt that he'd ever even had to TRY the recipe, with him taking a little booster dose every night about five, and all.

I went home on that blustery day, informed the kids that they were cooking supper, and headed for my room, snagging a lemon-half, the honey bear, a spoon, and the most beautiful heavy cut-glass old fashioned glass from the hutch, thinking that the more elegant I made the drink, the easier it would be to down it.

I squeezed the lemon into the glass, feeling a bit like the spent, squeezed-dry husk, then stirred in a squirt of honey, then the Whiskey.

I turned down my comfy bed with its soft, light comforter, laid out my snuggliest flannel nightgown, and started a bubble-bath running, with the bathroom heater going at a nice rate.

As I sat in the wonderful lavendery suds, lying back in the candle-lit room, I took a grimacing sip of the the stuff. It was worse-than-Terpin hydrate, worse than Nyquil's dreams of perfection. I just kept trying and trying to sip it down. Just a drop or two would pass my reluctant lips, and cross my tongue, as I tried to get the medicine down. No use.

I finished my bath, got dressed for bed, carried the glass to the bedside table, where I managed a few more unwelcome sips, wondering how on EARTH anyone ever drinks the stuff VOLUNTARILY. Eventually sleep came, and I must have passed a few cough-free hours, for I woke to the most Gosh-Awful SMELL in my room---the Whiskey fumes had crept out of that glass and rolled in layers and clouds all into that closed room like fog on the bayou. That haze of a full-steam-ahead distillery was prompting me to run for fresh air or throw up, whichever came first.

But if I remember correctly, the cough was gone---probably scared into other, friendlier places. And it seemed to take DAYS to get the lingering scent out of that room---I know it was just my imagination, but I had to wash all the bedclothes AND the drapes.

And if you have a cough remedy that involves Whiskey---keep it to yourself, please. I’d rather take my chances with sugar and lemon and big spoonclop of Vicks stirred in---right out of the jar.


Keetha said...

Like you, I always always hear that whiskey and this or whiskey and that is the best cure for a cough. Also like you, I have trouble getting whiskey down.

It made me question my southern-womanhood, you know, not liking bourbon. Now I feel better, knowing you don't care for it, either!

Cape Coop said...

I make a lovely turkey broth with a LOT of garlic and bit of ginger, add a squirt of lemon to each mug full when it's served, followed by cuddles in bed and lots of well sugared Constant Comment tea-that's my go cure to for Kiddle.
Really, you're just opening up the larynx, throat and bronchi with the steamy soup and the garlic, ginger and lemon warm the chest and throat. The sugared tea is more steam therapy and warmth in the chest, along with sugary slipperiness that makes any cough slip and slide into oblivion. The cuddles are soothing, it's no fun being out of sorts! That's my go to cure for Kiddle's coughs and colds- maybe you could try your own version?

Patsy said...

Now that was not a good thing lol

Marlene said...

My Dad (born in 1899) was raised on a "dollop" of sugar with a couple of drops of kerosene. This did not go down well for the younger generation (me) and it was spewed all over my mother's kitchen...much to her horror. I surely remember the flannel cloth with the Vicks on the chest...Hated that too!

Kim Shook said...

I'm sorry you are still coughing, my dear. It sounds just like last year.

I, like Keetha, feel that I should turn in my GRITS card - I cannot tolerate any of the dark liquors - not even communion sherry!

Southern Lady said...

I, too, being a born-and-bred southern belle cannot tolerate even the SMELL of whiskey or bourbon (am I being redundant?), or anything resembling liquor.

I always loved the sound of the words "Mint Julep" and the images they brought to mind ... of verandahs, and magnolias in the moonlight, and all things southern. I was served one once in Augusta, Georgia, in tall silver glasses, with silver straws! It looked so elegant and romantic, but I couldn't get it past my nose. Just the FUMES took my breath away and made me swimmy-headed, so I just sat and politely stirred mine with the elegant silver straw and hoped that no one would notice that I wasn't drinking it.

Just another thing we have in common, Rachel. I'll take Vicks over whiskey any old day!

Jeanne said...

Hi Rachel, a cute story but a cough is so annoying and it causes sleepless nights. I have never tried the recipe from your FIL. After reading this I never will. HA! I hope your cough is improved at least.

Be well mu friend.
Warm feel better wishes.

Tonja said...

I remember clearly how my Dad would try to find someone to go to the ABC store and buy him a bottle of whiskey. He did not want to be seen there...being a deacon in the Baptist Church and all. It stayed on the top shelf behind where the cabinet meets the wall. That bottle must have stayed there for 10 years or so. But, it was THE cough remedy...along with the honey and lemon. Hated it! There is none of the stuff I like the taste of! Because it all smells like medicine to me! Oh! and he and Mother believed in a good dose of Paregoric, too. Do you know what that is? It is even more vile thatn whiskey! Get it only by prescription, but they always had a bottle. I remember telling them many times..."When I get grown, I won't ever abuse my kids by makeing them drink devil juice!" And, I never did!

Kouign Aman said...

hot chicken soup w all the tobasco you can stand, and a humidifier. But really, if it lingers, try the Dr.