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By Columnist Bob Bridge


Witches get a bad rap.

They aren’t all devious.

Trust me, it depends on which witch is the target of judgment.

For example, if the subject in question is Glinda of Wizard of Oz fame, that sorceress is the sweetest lass this side of Emerald City.

Then there’s Hazel as in Witch Hazel.

According to my grandmother, Hazel served as a reliable remedy for everything from a stubbed toe to a broken nose. Reflecting on my childhood, I can’t remember a single moment when Hazel wasn’t standing guard on the center shelf in the family medicine cabinet above the bathroom sink. She was … heroic.

Talk about versatility, Hazel’s forte was definitely flexibility. However, she wasn’t alone in her quest to cure all that ails you.

While I can barely recall what I consumed for breakfast yesterday, I can easily identify each bottle, tube and small box taking up residence in our cluttered cabinet of remedies.

The MVPs, other than the aforementioned Witch Hazel, were Mercurochrome, Bactine and Alka-Seltzer. If they couldn’t address the issue, you were likely destined for the Emergency Room.

Of course most medicine cabinets back then were equipped with Bufferin (headaches) Visine (dry eyes) and Castor Oil (bellyaches).

I sped through tube after tube of Absorbine Junior in a losing battle with Athlete’s Feet. Oh, my aching, aggravated toes! I swear, it was worse than a bad case of Poison Ivy.

My dad kept a tiny tin of Wool Fat in case a finger was penetrated by a sinister splinter or misdirected fishing hook, while Lavoris was gargled and a Luden’s cough drop sucked to sooth a sore throat.

Band-Aids were available for little lacerations while greater globs of blood were soaked up by a generous roll of gauze.

Two of my favorite pharmaceutical products were Pepto Bismol and Vick’s Vaporub. I was drawn to Pepto’s sweet taste while Vicks‘ memorable menthol scent was the secret to its ongoing appeal.

What if no one else was home when little Bobby incurred one of his frequent boo-boos?

That’s easy … a modest splash of Witch Hazel near the injury site and off to the next adventure. What would Dad have suggested?

“Just rub a little dirt on it. You’ll be fine.”

How about exploring an innovative Soil Salve? Or, Dirt Where It Hurts?

Hey, with the proper selection of mass marketing …

Bob Bridge welcomes comments at 812-276-9646 or

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