Ornesta Goes Naturopathic

Ornesta Fruggenbotham, my friend from Iron Ore, Michigan, called the other day.

“Well hey! How are you, Ornesta!”

“Down in the dumpsters, Sweetie.”


“Well no, but it could come to that. Morale and the tourism industry have tanked up here, since President Obama did that latest executive order against the fishing industry — no fishing within 100 miles of shore — which means no fishing at all on the Gitch.* Bud says we’d be halfway between here and Duluth before we could throw a line in the water, and he didn’t think it would be safe with the 10 h.p. motor and the dinghy anyway. I cooked up the last batch of perch yesterday. From now on, it’s Mrs. Paul’s — out of a box!”

“I’m so sorry to hear that!”

“Yeah, and it’s just going to contribute to the fish overpopulating — shore to shore fish, can’t even swim around, poor thingies — and then they’ll have to dump tons of antibiotics in the lake, just to keep ’em alive.”

“Oh, tell me about it! The Prez did one of those executive orders on us, too — designated our town a drug-free zone, and now you can’t even buy an aspirin. Had to get my latest bottle from Canada.”

“SPEAKING of which … I’ve gone natural.”

“Hmmm? Just how natural did you go?”

“I’m talking about health stuff, silly. Those pills the doctors give you these days are dan-ger-ous! Like that Cipro-something antibiotic. Did you ever read the side effects? ‘Could cause tendons to rupture in people over sixty.’ Scary! What’s wrong with these guys?”

“The docs can’t help it. Not too many antibiotics work anymore.”

“And why do you think that is? Because they are stuffing the cows and the chickens full of that dope, just so they can stand wall to wall without sneezing each other to death. And now they’re going to have to do the same to the fish in the Gitch!”

“So, what do you use instead of Cipro when you come down with something?”

“Lots of stuff. Cinnamon, turmeric, beet greens, garlic –“

“I tried the garlic thing once for an earache. Put a clove at the back of your jaw on each side, bite down, and hold it ten minutes. Thought I’d swallowed a flame thrower, and I smelled like the Godfather’s mom for a week.”

“Well, did it work?”

“Nah. But I didn’t have any post-nasal drip after that. … Cider vinegar works great for migraines, you know. I keep some in a nasal spray bottle, and –“

“I think I’ll stick with the my current migraine drug, thank you — even if the first side effect listed is, ‘May cause death by heart attack.’ So far, I’m good. But, tell me about the Cipro. I have nightmares all the time about rupturing tendons. What do you do instead?”

“Well, I’ve been having trouble working around that one. Somebody told me to eat raw cranberries. ‘Raw cranberries are good for whatever ails ya,’ she says. So, while I’m munching away, she says, ‘But the acid in them strips the enamel right off your teeth.’ Great! Didn’t plan on having to invest in dentures! Thanks for the advice, lady!

“So, I mushed ’em up in the blender and tried to pour ’em down my throat without touching the choppers. No dice. And I tried swallowing them whole, one by one. Just about needed the Heimlich maneuver. I finally poked them into a leftover piece of key lime pie, hoping the pie goop would coat the berries so my teeth wouldn’t notice them. And then I sucked down enough water to swamp a camel — to fluoridate my teeth.”

“That doesn’t sound very practical, Ornesta.”

“No, it wasn’t. But I think I’ve got the answer now — oregano.”

“Like you buy in the McCormick bottle?”

“Oh, no! It’s got to be this special kind that grows wild in the mountains somewhere along the Mediterranean. They go in there with llamas, and load ’em up, and —“

“Um, I don’t think they have llamas in the Mediterranean, Ornesta.”

“Well, whatever! I leave the details up to the experts. I don’t go pick the stuff myself!”

“Why am I envisioning Mrs. Olson in a Folgers commercial right now?”

“Not coffee. Oregano. Although I have fond memories of Mrs. Olson and Juan Valdez and the other coffee celebs — and the guy in the kola nut commercial, too.”

“How’s the oregano working?”

“I think it’s doing great! And I didn’t see anywhere on the Web where they mentioned ruptured tendons as a side effect — except maybe for the guys carrying the stuff down the mountain — if they slip. You know, I think I’m going to like this naturopathic stuff.”

“Beats being a psychopath, I guess.”

“You betcha, Sweetie!”

*Gitch — Lake Superior

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