From the Editor

by Carolyn Trower

I must admit the coronavirus scare has rattled my usual optimism. I feel fine, even though I am in the “danger zone” for being one of those most vulnerable to the virus. As I write this Ralls County schools are still in session, though plans are in place for the possibility of closing. Schools around us have closed for up to three weeks. Churches are cancelling services and special events up to Easter. This is a scary time and I don’t remember anything like it except in history books.
Common sense seems to be wavering, evidenced by people who are hording basic food and hygiene staples. We’re urged to watch out for our neighbors, especially the elderly. I see charts and graphs with the death tolls of the Spanish Flu in 1918 and H1N1, Swine Flu, etc. So far, the death toll in America for this new strain is very low. I’ve read where it will run its course in a matter of weeks if we can keep as far away from crowds as possible. That’s the reason for the “social distancing” and closing of churches, schools, and businesses. That makes sense…if it really will run its course in that time frame.
As always, there are the articles about becoming self-sufficient. I wonder how many more gardens there will be this year. Will there be a run on canning supplies like toilet paper and hand sanitizer?
I came across a prescription for cough syrup from a doctor in 1962 on Facebook. It was made of honey, lemon juice, and whiskey. I remember my folks talking about drinking a “hot toddy” to kill a cold. Men could not afford to miss work when the wife was a stay-at-home mother and there were children to feed. A relative brought us some rock candy from the Ozarks one year and Daddy put most of it up to be used in the hot toddy, sort of like ice cubes, I guess. I never saw it but held a picture in my mind of the sweet crystals slowly melting in the hot water and whiskey. They tell me my grandfather never drank but he kept a bottle of whiskey on hand to use when someone got sick. His reasoning was that “it took a poison to kill a poison.” In a strange way that seems reasonable. There were no antibiotics then, and children often died of some fever or another. I don’t suppose a teaspoon or two of whiskey did any harm and from the stories, both from family lore and the comments on the cough medicine prescription, a hot toddy pulled many through.
That might be the lesson we can apply to this new crisis. With all our resources, there isn’t a vaccine for this, there isn’t a test available yet, and there is really no set course of treatment. Stay at home, drink it if you got it, and use some common sense.