Laughing Russians and a Sense of Drowning
Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

“One must be very suspicious of anyone who does not eat garlic.” (roman proverb)



I recently wrote about an old-time remedy using salt water to ward off colds. It's the tip of the iceberg of rediscovered healthy habits I've recently found and employed in my own life.


I've always like the old ways although new technology is fine. I want look as good as farmers did back in the times when they walked more than rode. It makes sense then that an old-fashioned lifestyle should bring old-fashioned results.

I like to lift weights for my health. It served me well up until recently but now it just makes me hurt. I remember all the stories about strong men back in a time when barbells didn’t exist and dumbbell was a derogatory term. I recently found a story of a man named "Farmers Burns" from Omaha, Nebraska who loved to wrestle. He was a world champion early in the twentieth century and later coached world champion Frank Gotch. He came up with a work-out that didn't involve lifting anymore than your bodyweight. This system involves push-ups, squats and something called the "Burns Stomach Flattener" which is a work-out similar to the “iron shirt” exercise practiced in Asia. It's very intense and alarms those at my local gym when I practice it. It’s also made me stronger and more flexible.

Flushing out your head with salt water is another piece of healthful Americana. Mothers have directed sickly children to gargle with salt water for years. People even flush out their nostrils with salt water on a daily basis to fend off the cold virus and infection. Salt water is now even being used by modern medicine to fight the effects of cystic fibrosis. Salt water is breathed through a nebulizer and lubricates the mucous of the lungs which helps cystic fibrosis sufferers breathe better. My own practice is to use a cattle syringe to inject the water and salt combination up my nose to the point I get an awful sense of drowning. My head has never been clearer but if you decide to practice this messy remedy please ask your doctor and never do it in the presence of someone who loves you. It may change their mind.

The easiest old-school remedy is eating garlic. Garlic was used so much by the Russian Army during World War One that people called it the "Russian Penicillin." People in Russia use Garlic still today and some even laugh at antibiotics. It is sometimes used in livestock as an organic cure-all to infectious disease. I purchase the little garlic tablets and take one per day which has kept me free of colds and werewolves. It’s also part of a morning ritual which sets my mind to making healthy choices throughout the day.

Finding all of these old-time remedies is good for my body and my mind. The salt water and garlic keep the doctor away while the history of their use helps me to consider the past when facing new challenges, just like those laughing Russians.