Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More of A Guideline Than A Rule

Growing up, there were three things of zero significance at the Bowman’s: 
1. What the Jones’ were doing
2. Hollywood
3. Expiration dates
I remember a bottle we kept in our medicine cabinet. It was tiny, made of brown plastic and had a white lid; I cried every time I saw it coming my way. 

 Yes, Mom and Dad still have the same, old Merthiolate on the shelf

Merthiolate...a stinging red liquid Mom dabbed on every one of our barn cuts, bike scrapes and any incident that involved a nail. Sometimes, we would throw such fits about having it applied to our wounds that Mom and Dad would wait until we were asleep before they dabbed it on. One weekend after moving home from Washington, I ran across that little bottle on the very top shelf; fear ran through my 24 year-old-body. Out of curiosity, I checked the label: EXP 3/1980. No wonder it burned; using it in 1991 was like applying kerosene to an open wound using a match. 
And I’d like to think the scar on my lip, which I conveniently received the week of my senior pictures, would have healed just a little quicker and more naturally if I didn't treat it with Neosporin that had expired in the same month I was potty trained. 
I used to wonder how things like this happen. Medicine was bought obviously because there was an ailment in the household; but was it ever used? I can promise you anything  bought for Dad has never been touched. When he snapped  his arm in two on the farm, he never took a Tylenol and waited four days before he went to see a doctor. Dad would have rather walked around with his arm tied to a 2 x 4 by a handkerchief for a year than spend two hours at the doctor’s office. 
And don’t get me started on food. My parents have canned more vegetables in the last fifteen years that I’m convinced they will survive any major crisis. Mom claims it is genetic; her Mother still has canned green beans in the basement that were there when they bought the farm - in 1959. For my birthday in August Mom will give me buckeyes and Almond Joy balls that have been frozen since Christmas; and I’m pretty sure the last hamburger I ate at their house was beef still left from Laura’s first 4-H steer - a holstein. I suspect this, not because it tasted bad,  but because the wrapper Mom threw in the trash read, Pick Pocket

With out a doubt, there are two things that will easily pass the test of time and live forever (in separate ends of the house) at the Bowman home: 

Vaseline and Canned Beef

The best canned beef in Wayne County! No really, first place. 

Don’t get me wrong; I clearly understand that if my parents hadn’t been so frugal, we wouldn’t have been able to do the things we were fortunate enough to do growing up. Their conservative ways allowed us to spend our springs playing in hay mows, our summers splashing in the Greens Fork River and also send the three of us to college. With Holiday Inn conditioner, of course.

Over Thanksgiving I asked mom for a Band-aid to go on the tip my finger. 

“Yep, we have those - bottom shelf, all the way to the back,” she said. 

Sure enough, I found this box of Band-aids that Mom likely picked up circa 1964. 
“What about these other ones? They seem bigger...and more.......stable?” I yelled to mom from the bathroom.

“If you’re talking about the ones in the metal Band-aid box you can forget it. Get your grubby fingers off," said Dad. "I bought them on a race trip to Talladega in 1969 and I have every intention of using those up by September.”

I rest my case.


  1. Too funny. LOVE IT! Especially the band aid metal box!

  2. Love this. That stuff is going to be worth money one day in a collectors shop!

  3. Exactly Crystal! Believe it or not, Lindsay I collect left-over stuff like that.

  4. This is great! We just had this same conversation when I asked my mom for some food coloring and she pulled out a little Kroger brand box with 4 dried/Gel like bottles of food coloring that was purchased before I was born in 1980. I think the best was when Nolan was teething and just having a miserable night when they were watching him. Dad got out a bottle of children's Tylenol that I am pretty sure was purchased for Dustin in 1988! Glad to know my parents are not alone. Haha

  5. Lindsay
    They are all right My Mother in law was in that same mood of using it until it is gone even if it took 30 years. I have a box in the basement that has a lot of her medicines chest bottles. I am surprised the bandaids still stick. That is life!!

  6. Your real life is so much better than anything I can make up. Love it. BTW, over Christmas I needed some ibuprofen at my parents. It expired the year I graduated from HS. Must have been the last time they had pain!!

  7. I remember that red stuff and it DID sting! I think I may be your parents in present day...recently found food I brought home when I moved back from Massachusetts 10 years ago. How did I know? It was from Shaw's and we don't have that store here! Great post.