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Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Good Cleaning Out


“You look like you could use a Good Cleaning Out.” My Grandma DeVane looked at me with appraising eyes, seeing through muscle, connective tissue, and blood, straight to my guts. How did she do that? Must’ve been with the same “eyes in the back of her head” she called to action when I misbehaved out of her direct line of vision. Mama had the same talent.

A Good Cleaning Out entailed a supersized serving spoon of something slick and vile, in Grandma DeVane’s case, mineral oil. Others in my age group, and from the Deep South, have reported similar experiences, but with castor oil. Heaven help that any of our generation lived past twenty, what with drinking from the water hose, riding in the back of speeding pick-ups without safety restraints, and biking without helmets.

The cure for a bad cough was a drop of kerosene on a sugar cube. But that’s another story. No small wonder I would not have been the best choice as a taste-tester after the BP Gulf oil spill. My body’s acclimated to petroleum products. Shrimp and Grits with pure sweet crude might bring misty reminiscences of Grandma’s home remedies.

Strange, I recall feeling better after the Good Cleaning Out. Purified. Near holy. Crapping like a crippled goose had to bring some rewards.

Cleaning out “stuff” brings the same sense of ahhhh with less intestinal agony. Closets, the garage, my piles of writing tablets and author flotsam. Amazing how purging my work space will often summon the muses. They don’t abide clutter. It makes them pack their little literary duffle bags and check out.

Nature abhors a vacuum. As soon as a clean space announces itself, paper, books and stuff rush to fill it. The cycle renews.

But for one second, I sense the importance of a Good Cleaning Out.

Thanks, Grandma.

Rhett DeVane
Fiction with a Southern Twist



3 comments:

Peggy Kassees said...

Oh my goodness! Hilarious. Castor Oil was my mother's remedy for 'what ailed me.' Most of the time the appearance of that vile Castor Oil bottle and a huge serving spoon waiting just under the cap had me feeling better and ready for school. I guess she figured if I was feeling bad enough to swallow that greasy, snotty, mess, that I was sick enough to stay home from school. Usually the appearance of the bottle cured me.

Roberta said...

I should have been so lucky. It was Milk of Magnesia AND an enema. Awful.

Jenny said...

Caster Oil was punishment for talking bad. My momma made us drink prune juice for the cleaning out process. Yucky stuff, but it worked. I out smarted the Castor Oil ordeal by refusing to swallow. Since it didn't go down, you can guess the rest.