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Open Features: Aroma Therapy

Mollie Mercer tells of old-time natural aroma therapy and a way of life that could cure todays's modern ills.

The other day I was listening to the radio as I drove into town to do my weekly shopping. I live in the country and try to be as conservative as I can, not only because of the cost of gas, but I was raised up to believe "a penny saved is a penny earned". Therefore I try to limit driving the ten or so miles into the city that prides itself on how fast it is growing. If the increase of traffic is proof of it's growth then I will concur with that.

I can't recall the name or number of the station I was listening to but the discussion was about aroma therapy.

I listened to three different references to aroma therapy. I guess I've never thought of it as a concept. It's a set of circumstances. Electricity is a concept. The end to the Iraqi war could be a concept. I might become good at writing one day is also another concept.

But when I think of aroma therapy, I do not always think in terms of a bathtub full of lavender scent. Which by the way, is supposed to be very soothing. Theoretically, if you bathe hyper-active children in a lavender bath, it will chill them out I would think. But I have known some children who would have required a car wash filled with the stuff before chilling them out.

What I remember best about aroma therapy, before someone invented scented candles and all the other nice aromatic stuff we spend lots of money these days, is a totally different concept from what I recall as a child.

Growing up on a farm in rural south Georgia, aroma therapy was about the smell of green peanuts as we dug them out of the fresh plowed earth and took them up to the well which was located close to the house. We'd pick them off the vines and fill a tub, draw water from the well, wash them to remove the dirt. Then we'd put them in a huge pot, add some salt, and sometimes a piece of cured fat back from the smoke house.

Now talk about aroma, when those peanuts began to boil, that was some kind of aroma! I understand that there are some people that have never indulged in a peanut boiling on a Saturday night. They would never understand the concept of aroma therapy as we experienced it. We'd invite all the kin and neighbors and listen to the Grand Old Opry on the battery powered radio. And eat a whole lot of boiled peanuts, and drank a lot of sweetened, cold ice tea. On those nights, there was no need to cook supper. Boiled peanuts and ice tea was all there was on the menu for that night.

When we'd be hoeing the nut grass out of the rows of cotton and peanuts, it always seemed to me that the rows were down wind of the kitchen where mama and no telling who else was frying up a pile of chicken. And the sweet potatoes they were baking rolled there aroma in the same direction and blended right in with that fried chicken. On the last row just before we'd quit for dinner, (city folk call it lunch) I didn't hate nut grass, buffalo grass and cockle burrs quite as much as I did earlier that morning. Those aromas took the hate right out of me.

As poor as we were and so unlike today's fast pace of living, there was peace and tranquility during those days. Every time I see young kids today walking around in the city, with nothing to do, except holding on to their loudly booming, boom boxes, and busting slack as they call it, ( the crotch of the pants hanging down to their knees) I wish somehow that I could wave a magic wand that would allow them to experience what it's like to grow up on a farm in South Georgia.

In spite of the heat, hard work and a whole lot of other inconveniences, it was very close to being heavenly at times. And besides, I guarantee there would be a lot less need for jails and prisons!


Mollie Mercer ©




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