Tuesday, December 11, 2012


The Sick Child, is by J. Bond Francisco, 1893

Boys will be boys
While recently surviving the 24 hour flu - boy did I miss Ethel!
Don't get me wrong Frank is a wonderful and compassionate caregiver.
However when I'm sick all I really crave is my Mother rubbing my back.
I accept that males are notoriously BAD patients.
Every woman disdains my gender's ability to handle illness.
Except... our Mothers.

Whenever I felt ill as a child (and adult) -
Ethel miraculously transformed into Florence Nightingale.
Offering unique medical potions that she knew would cure whatever ailed me.

Coke Syrup 
Nothing settled my stomach like a spoonful of sticky sweetness. Who cared if cocaine was the secret ingredient? How many times did I feign a tummy ache to get some coke?
What else could possibly make
a child feel better than a
liberal dose of OPIATE?
I can still vividly recall the
pungent taste and smell
of this magical elixir.
Mysteriously my symptoms almost
always abated shortly after intake!
Yet for some odd reason...
I always wanted more... more... MORE!
Mother thought that anything could be cured with a swab of this goo. Maybe that was because it was created on the socially correct Fisher's Island.  If nothing else it had proper lineage.

My father adored his Grandmother.
The son of a divorced, working woman -
his beloved "Nana" truly raised him.
What fascinates is why he could revere
a woman who made him down
a tablespoon of this fuel bi-annually.
The supposed purpose of this dosage
was to "clean things out" rather than kill.
Given Dad lived to 94 any risk
proved minimal. Fortunately for me -
Ethel never embraced this treatment.

While all of the above were used to treat specific ills and ailments.
There was one universal "cure" that was the ultimate panacea for all ills -
A slice of toasted bread floating in some buttered milk.

Whether you suffered
from fever, flu,
cold, croup,
injury, surgery,
exhaustion, anxiety,
no matter what
the ailment might be -
Milk Toast
was Ethel's ulitimate
remedy of choice.
Easy to prepare.
Easy to digest.
And most important
surprisingly soothing
and satisfying!

Looking back the ultimate and most powerful medicine my Mother administered was unconditional, compassionate, and patient, LOVE.

Ultimately my recent bout of illness reminded me of two things.
A Mother's love never dies.
Schmaltzy as that may seem it's true!
And just as important -
A partner's love always makes you feel better.

The next time your child, significant other, or dear friend isn't feeling well -
show them how much you care.
Deliver a prescription, fluff a pillow, or serve up a bowl of sodden bread.
Whatever dosage you administer really doesn't matter.
The best prescription for happiness is just being there!