When I was a young girl (I think I was about 10 or maybe 11) I ended up with a weird "ring" on my right forearm, right below my shoulder. After months of annoyance, and multiple trips to the Doctors (creams, prescriptions etc.) this thing just wasn't going away. It finally was diagnosed as "ringworm", but no one knew how to make it stop. No one.
Enter my Great-Grandma Seim.
We went for a visit to her sweet little country farmhouse in Howell, Michigan on a Sunday afternoon.
Creaky wood floors, big kitchen sink, farm fresh eggs on the counter and cookies. Always cookies. After some tea, and a bit of chit-chat (I don't remember her ever being much of a talker) someone mentioned my "ring". She gently held my arm, took one look at the "ring" and walked into her small, country farmhouse pantry. She returned about 2 minutes later with a small jar with a lid. I opened it to find about 2 tablespoons of salve. I can still remember the smell of it, as if I was still holding that jar in my hand, even now. Golden in color and smelling of Cypress. She said to rub a small bit of the salve onto the "ring" for a few days. Nothing else. No other words. No other directions. I did what she said.
I remember feeling stunned, 4 days later, that "ring" had almost disappeared. After months. How was that even possible? How did my sweet, Great-Grandma KNOW??
As I think back to her now, to her quiet, 'not a lot of words' and wonder, What else did she know? What could she teach me if she was still on this earth? I could probably follow her around for days and she could teach me, never-ending remedies for this, or that.
In my heart now, oh how I wish that I'd followed her into that pantry that day. What other bottles of mixtures did she have? Were there bottles that she had gathered from her Great-Grandma? I will never know, of course. I close my eyes, and see a small ledge of small bottles and tiny jars. Medicines that kept them all alive and well, when the doctors on horseback weren't able to get to them in time.
They didn't worry much though. They had everything that they needed. Right there in Grandma's country pantry.