As an only child I had no siblings who could share childhood diseases or even the common cold with me. Instead, I had to rely on the generosity of my friends and schoolmates. Occasionally they would oblige.
I was always surprised at how healthy I was compared to my classmates. Scarcely a week went by when one or another, due to illness, would be absent from school for a few days. Perhaps it was the juice mom and grandma made (post “The Monster Machine”) or the nutritious meals grandma prepared with the freshest and most wholesome ingredients. In all of grammar school I only missed two days due to illness.
After school the first order of business on walking in the apartment was to give grandma a big hug and kiss. If she felt I didn’t look one hundred percent she would apply her right hand to my forehead. “Honey, I think you’re running a temperature. I’ll get the thermometer.”
True to her word she returned from the bathroom with the little glass thermometer in her hand. She would insert it under my tongue and wait the required minute or so for it to register. Scientific proof of what grandma already knew. I had a slight temp.
“We need to get you into your pajamas and into bed.”
Then grandma would begin her healing work.
As I was getting ready for bed I could hear her at work in the kitchen. She would pull the large green bottle of Spring Valley Mountain water from the refrigerator and pour some in the tea kettle.
I could hear her strike a kitchen match and light the oven. Next came the wooden cutting board which she placed on her little work space so that she could slice two pieces of the stone-ground whole wheat bread she had made that or the previous day.
She replaced the bottle of water in the fridge and pulled out the little butter dish which rested in the door. Cutting a couple of pieces of this unsalted treasure, she spread them across the two bread slices. And then the magic cure was unleashed.
I could hear her peeling cloves of garlic – three for each piece of bread. Out of the utility drawer came the garlic press. Grandma mashed the garlic until it could be spread evenly on the bread.
About ten minutes later, grandma would come into my room carrying a little tray. My two garlic bread slices had been baked to perfection. They were accompanied by a cup of Rose Hips tea (loaded with Vitamin-C) that had been sweetened with a small dollop of honey.
An hour after I had finished eating this came stage two of my therapy.
I could hear grandma in the bathroom filling the rubber enema bag. Apparently it took the garlic an hour to do its work, scrubbing and churning through my innards, getting rid of all the nasty germs and bugs that were causing my elevated temperature. Now it was time to flush them all away and send them packing.
The next morning either mom or grandma would come into my room to feel my forehead. “I think you’re fine. Just let me check with the thermometer.”
Confirmation! I was pronounced fit to go to school – and I would dress for another day of learning.
For those who have grown up with our pill-dependent approach to medicine, grandma’s treatment might seem primitive and naïve. But before you dismiss this form of natural healing out of hand, let me refer you to the “Father of Modern Medicine,” Hippocrates.
“…And the elders came to Hippocrates and said, “What should we do? The people are sick.”
And Hippocrates answered them, “Let them eat onions and garlic.”
The night of my treatment I always slept soundly. I was sure that thanks to grandma’s loving care I would be well in the morning. And I knew there would be no vampires fluttering at my window.