Growing up in the Midwest, I heard many “old wives’ tales” had been passed down through generations. Home remedies for how to plant a garden. Some were amazingly accurate, others not so much.
They predicted weather. If a cow lays down in the field, it is going to rain. Or, “The sharper the blast, the sooner ‘tis past.” Loud lighting means the storm is moving fast and will pass quickly.
Advice on how to conceive a boy. If you want to give birth to a boy, eat bananas. Long labor is a sign it’s a boy. You can discover an unborn baby’s gender by tying your ring to a string and hanging it over the pregnant woman’s belly. If it swings in a circle, it’s a boy. If it swings back and forth, it’s a girl.
Acne treatment. Collect the first-morning urine of a pregnant cow. Dab it on the pimples and leave it there for 15 minutes before rinsing. Repeat until pimples are gone. Another similar version involves rubbing a urine-soaked cloth baby diaper on the pimples. My mother liked this one. Put toothpaste on acne spots to help them clear up faster.
The list of old wives’ tales is endless. The one I liked the best was Erma Bombeck’s twist on how to treat tooth aches for teething children. The advice to new mothers was to rub whiskey over the gums. Emma confirmed the accuracy of the tale. “It does really help. After a couple of shots of whiskey passed over my gums, the crying didn’t bother me.