NEW APPALACHIAN MOMENTS BLOG POST!!!
From Scott Ballard
Nope, it’s not the 7-year itch, perhaps a topic for a later podcast (!!!), but the Itch we’re talking about is something caused by a tiny little bug called a mite which ran rampant not that long ago. Funny how something almost invisible could make such a big impression!
The Itch was made worse by…a lot of folks living in a small house…usually out in the countryside. Today it has a different name…we call it Scabies…which is literally from the Latin word Scabere…which means, trust me, I’m not making this up, “to scratch.” You can’t make this up!
Scabies itched and it itched horribly…and if one gets it…chances were that in about 3 days everybody in your house had it… we won’t get into the details, but the itch ended up as a rash all over your body. See at left:
Aside from boiling your clothes and bed linens…folks in Appalachia doctored the itch…with a sulfur paste that mom or grandma often boiled up on the kitchen stove.…and it smelled HORRIBLE! I’m talking REALLY bad!
Story Time…Ol’ Jimmy Doughton over in Alleghany county North Carolina was a…country doctor of sorts and he had a remedy for the Itch…most country doctors back in the old days had a little makeshift kitchen in the back of their office where they would make their own compounds, tonics and cures.
And it just so happened that Jimmy had a mixture that locals said worked pretty good on the itch…as the story goes, a fella who…had a habit of not paying his bills came in to his “office” and said he had the itch bad and that he HAD to have some of the medicine for the itch…
Well, Jimmy went in the back and made up a fresh batch…he handed it to him and said, “That will be $2.” And the fella said…”I’ll pay you Saturday”…Jimmy snatched the cure out of his hands and said, “Listen here buddy, you can just itch on until Saturday then!”
Please share your memories of the Itch (or the cure!) in the comments section below…if you’d like to listen to the audio version click here: