Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

Sick In The South
by James Glaser
November 7, 2008

One would think being sick (The common cold or an allergy) would be the same in Tallahassee as it would be in the woods of Northern Minnesota, but that isn't true. Down here is this Southern city you are constantly coming in contact with other people. People get sick here so often that they provide sanitary wipes to clean off the handle of your grocery cart at every store. They think this is so important that they have a sign that tells you to inform the staff if the wipes have run out.

Here is what you are supposed to do for a cold, and Wanda has reinforced this message over and over again the last few days. Drink plenty of liquids, (water or fruit juice or lemon water with a little honey). Get plenty of rest. Eat chicken soup, and take an over the counter antihistamine if you have to.

Well, Wanda made a big batch of chicken soup, and then headed off to Birmingham, Alabama for work. Here I am at home all alone, and there isn't even anyone around to whine to.

That would be the same up North, but up North people would be coming over with family cures. One time a lady brought me a mixture of garlic and onion that I was supposed to put on my chest before going to bed. I must confess, I never did learn if that worked or not. I had a neighbor who swore that Swedish meatballs were the for sure cure. I like Swedish meatballs, and I did get better.

I think the real cure is sauerkraut and dumplings with chicken soup. I'm not talking about the wimpy flat dumplings they serve down here. I'm talking about the dumplings like my mother made that were the size of a softball, weighing in at about 12 ounces a piece. You eat a couple of those with gobs of kraut, and I guarantee that in a couple of hours you will have totally forgotten about that cold. When those dumplings start to expand in your belly, that head cold becomes a minor problem. Somehow, I think the dumpling cure is either a Norwegian or German cure.

Up North I could have called Doc Franklin if I was really sick, and he would have either come out to the house or maybe he would meet me at the clinic in town if he was thinking about blood work.

Down here there are walk-in clinics with a menu that tells you how much everything costs, the emergency room, or the VA. Up North I was a friend and neighbor to my doctor. Down here I am a social security number, but a social security number with an insurance card.

Up North, I could pine away in the house for a week or so before people started checking if I was around. Down here I have business hours, and not a half hour after I was supposed to open yesterday, a person called to find out why I wasn't there. I suppose if I did go in, nobody would have even stopped, but because I wasn't open they wanted in. I went down, and installed a sign on the door that said "SICK." So if anyone was standing there wondering why the door was locked they would see the sign and say, "he must be sick."

I should be better soon as I found a can of sauerkraut in the kitchen, and I'm going to put together a couple of dumplings that will cook in the kraut. It sure is a good thing that Wanda is away.

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