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Stories Archives for 2018-04

The Wrong Side of the Bed


 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Have you ever been told by your spouse that “…you must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed today.”?  I think we all know what that expression means, don’t we?
 
After a vacation or a break from school, it can be tough to get back into your usual daily routine.  If you get used to sleeping late, getting up early for work or school might make you feel more tired and irritable than usual.  So, if you are grumpy and irritable in the morning people refer to that mood as “getting up on the wrong side of the bed.”  This brings up a couple of questions you might not have thought about – does a bed have a wrong or right side, and which side makes one irritable?
 
Some people argue that on Mondays there is no “right” side of the bed.  Where did this saying come from?  It is an “idiom”, and the English language is replete with them, most from ancient days.  Research does not reveal how the saying “the wrong side of the bed” came about.  However, several theories exist.
 
For example, in the late 19th century, E. Cobham Brewer published Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.  He claimed that the saying came about as the result of an old superstition that it was unlucky to get out of bed with your left leg first.  This might have arisen from an old superstition that it was bad luck to put on your left shoe first.
 
It appears that the superstition dates back to ancient Rome where many Romans, including Augustus Caesar, were careful always to get out of bed on the right side.  This fit with other superstitions of the time that held that the left side was unlucky.
 
Others believe that this idiom, like several others that involve the phrase “the wrong side”, merely reflects the fact that there are positive and negative aspects of any situation.  Some people believe that when you get up in the morning, you can choose to have a good day or you can let stress and worries get the best of you.
 
But, is it possible that there’s actually a right and a wrong side of the bed?  Some people think that there is.  For example, some sleep scientists rely on psychology to conclude that the left side of the bed is right, and the right side of the bed is wrong.  They know that the left side of the brain controls logic and rational thought, while the right side of the brain controls emotion and imagination.  If you get out of bed on the left side, they believe that you may focus your energy on logic and stay away from volatile emotions.
 
Experts in Feng Shui – the ancient Chinese practice of placing items in certain positions to be in harmony with their environment – also believe that it is best to get out of bed on the left side.  They believe this because Feng Shui associates the left side of the bed with family, health, money, and power.
 
All express the idea that there are good and bad aspects of any situation.  A well-known American example, the wrong side of the tracks, is the only one that seems to be based in a real, physical location.
 
So, what do you think?  Are there a right and a wrong side of the bed?  Whatever you believe, one thing is true: even if you get up on the wrong side of the bed, you can try your hardest to turn a frown upside down and make the most of your day. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
“THE WRONG SIDE OF THE BED”
 
BY: NEAL MURPHY
 
107 HEMLOCK STREET
PO BOX 511
SAN AUGUSTINE, TEXAS 75972
936-275-9033
Cell: 936-275-6986
Email: sugarbear@netdot.com
 
610 Words
 
 

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DR. MILES' NERVINE


 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I recall that my mother, Alice, would complain about her nerves.  After a long day of work in her beauty shop she would often go to her medicine cabinet, pull out a blue bottle, and take a spoon full of liquid.  She said that it calmed her nerves.  At times, when she felt she was going to have trouble sleeping, she would do the same thing.
 
I never thought much about this until I reached my teen years.  On occasion when she thought I was nervous or on edge, she would insist that I take a dose of the elixir “Miles Nervine”.  It had a terrible taste which lasted a long time.
 
On the night before Clara and I married, she insisted that Clara take a good dose of the stuff to assure that she had a good night’s rest.  Clara did not like the taste at all.  I have since wondered about this over-the-counter elixir, what it contained, and did it really work.  So, I did a little research.
 
Miles Laboratories was founded as the Dr. Miles Medical Company in Elkhart, Indiana, in 1884 by Franklin Miles,  He was a specialist in the treatment of eye and ear disorders, but also had an interest in the connection of the nervous system to overall health.
 
By 1890, the sales success of his patent medicine tonic, Dr. Miles’ Nervine, in treating various ailments led him to develop a mail order medicine business.  Miles also published Medical News, a thinly disguised marketing vehicle for Nervine.  The tonic remained on the market as a “calmative” until the late 1960s.  In 1935 the name of his company was changed to Miles Laboratories. 
 
 Dr. Miles’ Nervine was said to treat “nervous” conditions, including nervous exhaustion, sleeplessness, hysteria, headache, neuralgia, backache, pain, epilepsy, spasms, fits, and St. Vitus dance.  The active ingredient in Nervine was bromide.  Bromide was once used as a sedative and an effective anticonvulsant, and until 1975 it was a major ingredient in over-the-counter products such as Bromo-Seltzer.  But the drug had its bad effects on the human body.  Bromism (chronic bromide intoxication) was once very common, accounting for as many as 10% of admissions to psychiatric hospitals.  Bromide, as a drug, is now rare, although it is occasionally used to treat epilepsy.  One source said that a touch of chloroform (an extract of opium) was also used in the tonic.  It is no wonder that the authorities clamped down on it.
 
Considering all the ingredients in Nervine, I am surprised that my mother lived to age 96, though I do now understand why she felt the tonic calmed her nerves.  She must have been disappointed when it was taken off the market.
 
In1979 Bayer AG purchased Miles Laboratory and in 1995 eliminated the Miles brand name from all products.  So, say ‘goodbye’ to the elixir that guaranteed “steady nerves” to millions of people in its day, including Alice.
 
 
 
 
“DR. MILES’ NERVINE”
 
BY: NEAL MURPHY
 
107 HEMLOCK STREET
PO BOX 511
SAN AUGUSTINE, TX 75972
936-275-9033
Cell: 936-275-6986
Email: SUGARBEAR@NETDOT.COM
 
492 Words
 

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CRAZY WATER CRYSTALS


 

 
 
My grandmother, Mary, decided that this would be a great question to send in to the Crazy Water Crystal Program - “What is the horizon?”  My grandmother listened faithfully to this radio program which was broadcast  from the lobby of the Crazy Water Hotel in Mineral Wells, Texas from 1935 through 1941.
 
I was around five years old at the time.  My grandmother baby sat with me  while my mother worked in her beauty shop, and she listened to her favorite radio program which the NBC radio network broadcast  nationwide.  As I recall the program consisted of a variety of early country western and Bluegrass music, along with a few comedians.  And then there was a part of the daily program which invited listeners to send them hard-to-answer posers.
 
Of course I was too young to appreciate from whence the program emanated, or anything about the “Crazy Water” or the hotel.  The majestic Crazy Water Hotel was built in 1927 by Carr Collins at a cost of $1,000,000, a tidy sum in those days.  It was built on the site of the third well dug in Mineral Wells in 1881. The hotel contained over 200 guest rooms, a spacious lobby and incorporated the Crazy Water Pavilion.  The top floor of the hotel had a glass enclosed ballroom  which opened onto a roof-top garden.
 
Local legend holds that an insane woman was cured after drinking from the “Crazy Spring” located at the pavilion.  Thus the name Crazy Water and the “Crazy Well” came into use.  During the depression era, The Crazy Water Company focused on sales of their crystals - a snowy white residue left from the evaporation of their waters.  Their “Crazy Gang” explained how their elixir could be reconstituted with tap water, giving folks all the benefits without having to leave home.   The company’s motto was “Every Home Needs Crazy Crystals” and appeared on their box which sold for sixty cents.
 
The company claimed that its miracle crystals could cure hysteria, insomnia, rheumatism, diabetes, gout, Bright’s disease, malaria, or high blood pressure.
 
Mary Martin, a native of Weatherford, Texas, appeared in Crazy shows before she attained Broadway and Hollywood stardom.  The hotel hosted numerous dignitaries to listen to prominent big-band orchestras.  It was also the site for weekly radio shows, weddings, galas, cotillions, and dinners.  A few guests who failed to correctly sign the guest register include Machine Gun Kelly as well as Bonnie and Clyde.
 
While all this history about the hotel was interesting, I was interested only in having my question “What Is The Horizon?” answered and my name heard on the radio.  So, we mailed the letter and waited, and waited some more.  Finally, one day my grandmother received a letter from Mineral Wells which contained unwelcome news.  The Crazy Water Crystal Program had declined use of our question.  I was sorely disappointed as I knew the answer - “The horizon is the place where the earth and sky appear to come together.”
 
To add insult to injury several weeks later we heard our question being asked by another person on the program.  I felt sure that we had been done an injustice.  It never occurred to me that they probably already had the question from someone else when they received mine - so much for my escapade into radio programs.  But, even today, when I recall that event of so long ago I feel a slight rush of disappointment that our plan did not work out.
 
For over one hundred years, the Crazy Hotel has served four strengths of water from its pavilion.  It can no longer claim that it cures many illnesses that plague man.  It also cannot claim a letter from a young boy and his grandmother who asked a simple question.
 
 
 
“CRAZY  WATER  CRYSTALS”
 
BY: NEAL  MURPHY
 
107 HEMLOCK STREET
P.O. BOX 511
SAN AUGUSTINE, TX 75972
936-275-9033
Cell: 275-6986
Email: sugarbear@netdot.com
 
634 words
 
 
 
 
 

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BROOM LORE


 

 
 
The lowly broom has been around our civilization for centuries.  It is said that Benjamin Franklin introduced broomcorn to the United States in 1725.  He is said to have picked a single broomcorn seed of a Philadelphia lady, planted it and grew the first broom corn in the United States.
 
Folklore and Old Wives tales include traditional beliefs, customs, songs, and sayings about the broom. Included are beliefs about marriage, childbearing, festivals, warfare, hunting, and farming.  The old myths are passed along in cultures all over the world.  Folklore comes from everywhere on the planet, current and extinct.  The following are only a few of the more prominent beliefs concerning the broom:
 
Do not lean a broom against a bed.  The evil spirits in the broom will cast a spell on the bed.
 
If you sweep trash out the door after dark, it will bring a stranger to visit.
 
If someone is sweeping the floor and sweeps over your feet, you’ll never get married.
 
Never take a broom along when you move.  Throw it out and buy a new one.
 
To prevent an unwelcome guest from returning, sweep out the room they stayed in immediately after they leave.
 
While you are sweeping near your front door, if the broom drops, be expecting company before the day is through.
 
If you find a broom lying on the ground or floor, pick it up for good luck.
 
When you are sweeping up dirt by your back door, be sure to sweep it out the back door instead of inward or you will be sweeping away the friendship of your best friend.
 
Do not sweep at all using a broom on New Year’s Day or bad luck will follow you all year long.
 
Any trash that you decide to sweep up on New Years Day, be sure to burn it so you will have money all year long.
 
When you are carrying a broom, carry it under your arm for good luck, if you carry it over your shoulder, you are sure to have bad luck.
 
Do not get mad and hit someone with a broom; if you do, you will find yourself in jail before the week is up.
 
Never sweep dirt out of your home before the sun comes up or you will be calling for bad luck to enter.
 
If the broom you are using happens to fall, it will bring you bad luck.
 
If you wish for someone that just entered your home to go away, all you have to do is sweep in front of them.  This is a sign that you do not want them in your home.
 
If you are visiting someone and you have to step over a broom in her home, or outside the home, this means that she is not a good housekeeper.
 
Never hand someone a broom through an open window, it can bring you bad luck.
 
It is bad luck to loan your broom to anyone, even a good friend.
 
Stand a broom upside down and you will marry soon.
 
If a wife sweeps a circle around her husband, it will keep him eternally true to her.
 
There is a ceremony dating back to the 1600s which derived from Africa.  Dating back to slave days, jumping the broom together has been part of weddings for couples who want to honor that tradition.  The “Jumping the Broom” is a ceremony in which the bride and groom, either at the ceremony or at the reception, signify their entrance into a new life and their creation of a new family by symbolically “sweeping away” their former single lives, former problems and concerns, and jumping over the broom to enter upon a new adventure as husband and wife.
 
I had always heard that witches ride brooms as their main mode of transportation.  I’ve never actually seen one, so I will just have to place it in with the “old wife’s tales” mentioned above.  So, now you know to be especially careful when you handle your trusty broom.  Seems to me one can get into a lot of trouble if not careful, especially on New Years day.
 
 
“BROOM LORE”
 
BY: NEAL MURPHY
 
P.O. BOX 511
107 HEMLOCK STREET
SAN AUGUSTINE, TX 75972
936-275-9033
Cell: 936-275-6986
Email: sugarbear@netdot.com
 
693 words
 
 
 

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