May 11, 2014

Honk if you use tissue

We came to blows at a local hair salon last week.

Relax. Nobody called the cops. Blowing your nose during the spring allergy season isn’t against the law.

Every two weeks, I dust the cobwebs of my addled pate for a new column idea. Kaye is always my first sounding board.

Out of nowhere, as I honked into a double layer of tissue, I blurted out: “When did we first give up handkerchiefs for tissues in a box.”

“What kind of question is that?” was her reply. Another patron looked up from her e-reader and responded with enthusiasm, as though I had opened a box of fond memories.

“We had a big family,” she said. “There were nine of us and we each had our own little handkerchief with our initials in one corner. On Sunday, we carried a different one with a tatted border, made with love by our mom.”

And so, the lively conversation on nose-blowing began. Her name is Nancy Staves and once Pandora’s Box was opened, there was no stopping her.

“My mother taught me how to iron and I practiced on handkerchiefs. By the way, my father always carried and used a handkerchief.”

I love it when people hand me column content. I pressed her to continue: “I went to a garage sale and saw something I recognized. It was a little metal thing with small holes in it like a salt shaker and it was attached to a cork. I asked the person how much it was and she wanted a quarter. She told me she had no idea what it was, anyway. I explained how my mom had one. You filled a Coke bottle with water, put the cork in the top and used it to sprinkle your clothes on the ironing board.”

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