Sunday, March 14, 2010

Old Wives' Tales

My mom was not a highly educated woman. She had dropped out of high school at 16 to get a job. I am still trying to understand from her sisters what was behind that decision as what they tell me does not jive with what she told me. Later, after she met my father, his mother, a very educated woman not pleased at all with her son's choice, insisted she get a GED and some college. Her future mother-in-law paid for that. But much of her knowledge seemed to be gleaned from old wives' tales. It was very frustrating living with such ill-logic. I felt I was raised by wolves: people without a clue.

No you can't shave your legs. The blonde hairs will turn black!
If you swim within 2 hours of eating,you'll get cramps and die!
If you wash your hair while you have a cold, you will get pneumonia!

That last myth was especially embarassing to live with. At eleven, I had all the signs of early puberty: a growth spurt that caused me to tower over everyone and extremely overactive oil glands. Unless I washed my hair daily, it would hang in disgusting greasy ropes. We had a X-mas concert that year and my friends and I were chosed to sing in a trio-"WinterWonderland" singing harmony. That was difficult as I kept wanting to sing the soprano part-the melody. There were a few lines I got to sing by myself. I used to have a reasonable voice but puberty has since reduced my range to just a few notes. But then, I still could sing despite a minor cold. I was forbidden to wash my hair due to the cold and the threat of pneumonia. After a few days, my hair left grease stains on everything it touched. On the night of the concert, I showed up with my very greasy hair. This did not go unnoticed or unremarked upon!!! I'd rather have had the pneumonia.

I thought about this yesterday as I ran with my cold in the rain and driving wind. I tried as much as possible to keep the wind at right angles. I should have worn a hat. At the end of my run, my hair was sopping wet and my skin red from the chill. All was fine after a hot shower. So far no signs of pneumonia. Despite running in the cold routinely, I do feel I get much less disease than most. My last cold was 6 years ago and as far as colds go, this one is very minor. My theory is that the elevated temperature kills off the potential pathogens. But I can't get too high and mighty: I had cancer.

No Naomi and the test is later today! Suffice it to say that it would be much, much easier to be the student than trying to turn her into one. Shanna and crew finally made it to Michigan after a drive that was much longer than mine. They will come over later in the day as will my other kids.

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