Vol. 13, No. 3,245 - The American Reporter - September 7, 2007

Hominy & Hash

by Constance Daley
American Reporter Cirrespondent
St. Simons Island, Ga.

Printable version of this story

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- There's always something I used to love at Cracker Barrel, the old time, general store-styled restaurant found at most exits of all Interstates (ou can take a virtual tour at www.crackerbarrel.com). This time, John waited on line to pay the check.

I leisurely ambled around the store enjoying row upon row of old-fashioned toys, candies from "my day" and products I remember because I'm always saying to anyone who'll listen that they don't make things like they used to. Well, they don't, but I swore I'd never reach the day where I'd resort to that comment.

My eyes spotted a large plastic bottle of lotion with a dispenser top and a label that spelled quality to me. After all, Kirk's Castile products have been in business since 1836. I also bought the familiar Kirk's Castile soap. I left the store with a smile on my face after having had the old fashioned meat loaf and mashed potatoes for lunch - the nationally known Tuesday Special at all the restaurants in the chain.

It took a few days for me to remember to bring the plain brown paper bag in from the car, but this morning after my shower, I reached for the lotion and started with my face. My skin is so sun-dried it normally sucks up a moisturizer before I finish applying the recommended dollop of cream.

The buzz word there is "normally." This morning, the more I rubbed around the cheeks, under the chin, up and down the neck and back to the cheeks again, I had a face coated with white cream that kept getting thicker and thicker. I grabbed a towel and scraped it off my face. I rung out a hot wet washcloth and finished removing the thickest lotion I'd ever applied.

Now, this is not a case of "they don't make things like they used to," it's a case of improving on a product (the soap) to suit today's market. I bought Kirk's Original Coco Castile Hand and Body Lotion - Soft Liquid Soap. Of course I didn't see that last word until I put my glasses on. I had been lathering up instead of creaming my skin. I can attest to their slogan "it leaves no drying residue on your skin." Just scrape it off!

So, now I have a product for luxuriating in the bath. This is not the first time I've acted hastily because I didn't read the label closely. In the 1950's I was in agony with a lower back pain, You know, the kind where you have to roll yourself out of bed onto the floor and then reach to the bed for help standing up. A really bad back pain. When I got to the office someone said: "You need Carter's Little Liver Pills, they're wonderful for back pain, not just headaches." So, I bought the little box of pills, read enough of the label to know enough not to crush or bite and to take with six ounces of water.

Oh, I hope these work, I thought, as I followed the directions - adding only that since my pain was so bad, I would take four instead of two tablets. Here's where not reading the label created the most embarrassing moments of my life - I won't go into it, you might be having breakfast.

The label said, "continued use may cause dependency on laxatives." It also said the pills were good for sick headaches and constipation. And, they really worked. Need I say more?

Another time my eyes were too quick and comprehension too slow. I was at an airport between flights perusing the racks for a book to carry me the four hours before landing. I saw just the thing. Secret Garden.

Well, as it turned out, it was not what I thought it was because I too soon learned it was not by Marsha Norman who wrote "'Night Mother." I had juxtaposed her with Nancy Friday who wrote "My Mother, Myself." And the book by Nancy Friday was "Secret Garden" which I took to be the popular character driven book about children written in 1909 by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

In the short time it takes to settle into my seat, fasten my seat belt, open the book and begin reading the first page, I went from cool and collected to hot and bothered. If it weren't a paperback you could have heard the cover of the book slam shut in the cockpit.

Concealing the overturned paperback in my lap, I started reading the back cover describing the contents. It seems Ms. Friday had published a first; a collection of women's sexual fantasies. Fantasies, not experiences. If what she was reporting was what she actually received in the mail then nothing I have ever read was so demeaning. To give you an idea without (so to speak) giving you a glimpse of what I read, I refer you to Nancy Friday's own comments, from her Website:

"I remember vividly the first publisher who rejected My Secret Garden. When I mentioned the outline I had drawn up along with a sampling of fantasies, he salivated, pleaded for me to send them to his office. 'Women's sexual fantasies!' he juicily exclaimed, and then before the day was over, they'd been returned, double-sealed, to my apartment. What had he expected? I'll never know, but the ritual was repeated by almost every publisher in New York. Let me quickly add that women editors as well as men hated the evidence of what women's sexual fantasies actually were."

Once again, the experience is an example of my not seeing things for what they really are. Now, what was I to do with such trash? I wasn't at all worried about a plane crash but there was the possibility of having that book found on my person. That was the horrific thought. I attacked the problem with vengeance. At the motel, I put the book in the sink filled with water, left it for two hours. Then, later, after wringing it out like a sponge and ripping it apart into small pieces, I flushed it away.

It wasn't enough for me to toss it in the trash at the airport. What if some hard working trash collector considered the pretty new book a find and took it home? "My Secret Garden" sounds like a good book but we all know what they say about judging a book by its cover.

Copyright 2007 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

Site Meter