Mom’s beliefs were sometimes a bit, well…

From our March 2019 issue

By Shirley Farthing – Saskatoon, Sask.

As a child, I thought my mother was the most knowledgeable person in the whole wide world. She knew the answers to all my questions like, “why is the sky blue, but clouds are white?” and “why don’t the clouds fall down when they are full of rain?”

She had only the equivalent of about Grade 7 English, but she knew history, geography, literature, poetry, and many other subjects. Even when I was old enough to go to school, I relied on her to fill me in on all kinds of additional information. It was always sparking in me a keen interest in knowing more.

Unfortunately, there were two instances when I began to doubt her wisdom. To this day, I believe she was really out to lunch on them.

The first was her firm belief that breathing in the strong smell of tar was absolutely the most healthful thing one could do for the lungs.

Dad was reluctant participant

When we were going somewhere in the car and she smelled the road being tarred, she would shout out to my dad to stop the car. All of us had to get out and breath in great amounts of the strong odour.

My dad was reluctant, but he too would be outside the car taking deep breaths, sometimes I suppose a bit embarrassed about the spectacle we were creating. It was the 1930s and tarring city roads had just begun. There were many instances when we had the tar experiences.

As I grew older, I wondered about the healthful qualities. While I don’t really believe it, I still open the car window if I see tarring being done. There is no longer the strong pungent smell of the 1930s.

Mom’s second ardent belief stemmed from a magazine article she’d read. It was about a man who had terrible stomach problems for years. Many doctors unable to diagnose the problem.

Magazine story ‘planted seeds…’

When the man’s stomach became grossly distended, doctors finally decided to operate. To their amazement, they found a beautifully lush lemon tree growing in his stomach with several ripe lemons which they picked and gave to him!

From then on to her death, mom was fearful of swallowing seeds of any type, especially orange and apple pips. Every fruit we ate had to be closely examined. I didn’t believe her story, but went along with her fear until I left home.

Now 92, I have not yet come across anyone with that kind of terrible dilemma, but I’m still a little bit cautious about consuming seeds.

This morning for breakfast, there was watermelon along with other fresh fruits. Dozens of watermelon seeds could be seen and I picked out most of them, but I suppose I swallowed a few.

When I think of it, if only one of those seeds take root, I’m in deep trouble!

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