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March 16, 2014

Trip down memory lane has no destination

Incongruous is a good word. The older I become, the more it applies to my disjointed ramblings.

I’ll try to explain how two apparently incongruous words are related. They are “maps” and “Unguentine.”

I dare say many of you can’t even pronounce Unguentine. You probably haven’t said the word out loud for years. Maybe never. Repeat after me: un’-gwen-teen. Now, if that doesn’t relieve any itch you might have, nothing will.

My late mother plastered it on any scrapes or burns or itches we complained of when my brother Jim and I came inside from a tumble in the brambles behind our house. It worked then and probably works now, but I didn’t know you could still buy the stuff that was concocted back in the 1800s.

Jim sent me a long list he had concocted of things our generation will be the last to see. I had fun with it and added a few hundred of my own. Unguentine wasn’t one of them, but I would have bet we didn’t have a tube of it in our medicine cabinet these days. We don’t. I just asked Kaye why our mothers thought it was so useful. Her answer? “Athlete’s foot.”

So, as it turns out, Unguentine isn’t defunct after all. No worry. I’ll just stumble on with my recollections of road maps and, before I finish, I might need one to find my way back home.

When our kids were younger, some of our road trips seemed like Ma and Pa Kettle on vacation. Remember those old movies?

We packed them in whatever old vehicle we had running at the time, and headed out. I’m geographically challenged, so Kaye was my navigator. She marked all the folding maps from here to wherever and kept them on her lap in the passenger’s seat.

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