“Hit it Stretch!” The words made me close my eyes, clinch my fists and pray. No, it wasn't someone instructing a death row guard to pull the switch on “old sparky”. But, at ten years old it felt like it. I was used to home remedies and cure all methods. My parents, though middle class, didn't spend a lot of money for doctor or dentist visits. It was fortunate that I went to bed by eight o'clock every night and was rarely sick. By the time I was eighteen, I recall only going to the doctor twice, once for a wart to be burned off and the other for a kidney infection. That was it. And the dentist, I only remember going once and getting sick from the gas. I vomited in the car. So any method to cure an ailment, outside of a doctor or dentist's office, was fine by me. On this occasion, I employed my best friend's secret method.
My baby teeth were nagging me and needed to come out. My best friend, Billy, who lived down the street, had a solution. I went to his house and visited with his parents about getting those troublesome teeth out. His mother convinced me that their home remedy worked every time. Great!
I stood like a statue in Billy's kitchen, opened my mouth and felt the string squeeze between my teeth. His mother tied it tight and tugged on it a little. Stretch, their brown wiener dog, danced around a little and then stood very still as they tied the other end of the string to his collar.
“Hit it stretch,” Billy's mother yelled. Out popped my tooth. Problem solved. This was just a minor annoyance and would teach me that there were many ways to skin a cat without putting out big bucks to doctors or dentists. It would come back to haunt me.
Years went by, I got married, had seven children and still didn't see the doctor very much. We were poor and never had any health insurance. So, we always tried home remedies until we had no other option. We new every back woods remedy and used it. Then it happened.
I was at the end of my rope. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't breath, I couldn't cough it up, sneeze it up, blow it out or swallow it down. It was driving me absolutely crazy. I had between my nasal passages and my throat a glob of this disgusting mucus slime. I had to really reach down deep to come up with an ingenious way to get rid of this tormentor.
I know God has a sense of humor. On this particular day, God had to just sit back and watch the show. He probably smiled and even laughed a little. They make television shows out of stupid blunders that make you say, “how dumb was that.” This was one of those moments. What was I to do?
Wala! More is better. I just knew that if you want the full effect of something, “sock it to it.” So I did some research on how to solve this problem. Saline solution! That sounded reasonable. Saline will purify my nasal passages and all that gook will disappear. I must have watched too much television and if you are familiar with “Tool Time” and Tim the Tool Man Taylor you know where I got my ideas. His motto was “more is better.” More horsepower, more amps, more of everything. Well, if it worked for him, why not me.
I stepped into the bathroom, contemplated if this grand idea would really work and went brain dead. What happened next was not pretty. I took a handful of salt. Salt is good, right? That is what Mark 9:50 says. Maybe I should have read deeper. I held my hand up to my nose and sniffed up the salt.. I immediately fell down to the floor, flopped around like a fish out of water, screamed for my mother, and prayed that God would please spare my life, after he stopped laughing. Not only did it not work, my nasal passages were more irritated. And, that glob of snotty mucus was still there.
Since that time I have tried to temper my remedies. A little! Every now and then when I think there is no solution my brain starts clicking. Then, I remember Mark 9:49 KJV, “ For everyone shall be salted with fire,” and remember THE SALT.
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