Bag Balm

Molly left me a note yesterday to remind me that her last request as Fun Monday hostess is for bloggers to write about a child hood memory.  She knew that I would be drawn to this topic like a fly to manu… Er… No, I mean a bear to honey.

A memory had already been evoked in me earlier this month when suffering with a horrible fever blister that covered the end of my nose and part of my upper lip.  While doing some errands for Auntie Fern,  one of the owners of the retirement village suggested I slather my affliction with Bag Balm.  Immediately two thoughts popped into my head.  One was of that big fat wedding movie –  where the father character pulls out a spray bottle of Windex (window cleaner) every time someone appeared in the script with a skin ailment.

* * *
The other sentiment was of my dad.  My dad would never have been so bold to suggest his remedies to strangers, but he did share his opinions freely with family.

If you had a headache it was because you didn’t have your morning constitutional.  (Bowel Movement – for those who might not have been clear on that description.) Enough said about that.

Dad didn’t use deodorant, aftershaves, or colognes. And, he had a low opinion of the men who used them. He considered it “stinky” stuff.   When he put down his razor,  dad slapped on a few splashes of Campho-phenique, an antiseptic liquid. 

During my childhood, Campho-phenique came in a dark green glass bottle that, when opened, could be detected immediately by my nose at the opposite end of the house.  Granted, our house was small; but that does not in any way denigrate the size of its smell.  I will add that mom sometimes used the liquid on our scraped knees and minor cuts which probably made it more hostile in my scent memories.

And then there was that other proven product:  Bag Balm. There was always a big green canister of the stuff in the bathroom, and another one on dad’s work bench.  He used it to alleviate any sore or lesion that beset his body.  Because his overworked hands were so calloused and cracked, he used the medicated salve as his hand crème of choice.   On more than one occasion I heard my mama chastising dad because the morning or evenings milking was tainted with a tincture of bag balm, and thus not suitable for consumption. 

* * *
Here’s where I have to admit that I arrived home the morning of my Bag Balm encounter and went straight to my bathroom medicine cabinet.  In there, I found two canisters of Bag Balm. Curiosity send me to the the hallway cupboard.  Sure enough, a third canister.

Yes! Of Course!  I opened one and generously dabbed the ointment all over the end of my nose.  

Fun Monday is welcome to all memories.  Click here!


bermudabluez said…
I remember Campho Phenique...very well as a matter of fact!!! My Dad was like the guy with the windex...thought one should use it on EVERYTHING!! Thanks for bringing back a great memory Pamela!! Hope your sore is better!!
Sandy said…
My husband would have put the camphoPhenique on your nose! We did not use it but his family sure did!
Sayre said…
Isn't Bag Balm a remedy for cow udders with mastitis? NOt sure why it would "taint" the milk... Sounds like a good all-purpose salve though!!! Perhaps I should find some to have around here!
chrisb said…
Great memories Pamela had me smiling as usual :)
Molly said…
Thank you for your memories, Pamela. Your dad sounds like bit of a character. Perhaps, he was right about the curing properties of Bag Balm and Campho-phenique. Both have been around for quite some time.
Jan n Jer said…
LOL, we used campho-phenique in our house..mostly for fever blisters. I never hear of Bag Balm!
The Church Lady said…
Well I will be curious to know if the bag balm works on curing your fever blister. I get those nasty sores from time to time. However, I have never heard of bag balm. Can you purchase it at Walmart??

What a great childhood memory!
Peter said…
I'm not familiar with Bag Balm or Campho-phenique but they both sound like well tested remedies.
~sWaMpY~ said…
Campho Phenique ! Oh how I loved that little green bottle full of miracle fluid.
Favorite memory about it: My youngest had a boo-boo and came squealing down the hallway, "Get the Nique. Get the Nique."
She thought The Nique cured everything.
tlawwife said…
You will probably not be surprised that I have a can of bag balm in my cabinet too. My grandmother had it on her bedside table until she died. Terry uses it when his hands get so dry they crack.

And yes you can get it at our Walmart. In the pet area was where I found it.

There is a product called Udder Cream that is also made for cows that feels better that we also use. I can get it at Walmart and our local pharmacy.
Pam, I love your stories. They always bring a smile and a memory of my own :)
Georgia Girls said…
Growing up on a small ranch I do remember Bag Balm, but we used it for cows. When my grandmother was starting to increase in her dementia, one day it was found that she had spread the whole kitchen counter with Bag Balm to "catch the flies" :)
I have another alternative to Bag Balm that I was going to post about this week -- I'll link back to this post.
I have a tin of Bag Balm in the bathroom...I find lots of old lady uses for it.
My Grandgirls when they were in Diapers always had red bottoms ( Daycare) In a day or two of me visiting I could get their butts all cleared up..the magic of Bag Balm. I have not thought of Campho-phineque in did work well !
Your Dad sounds like he was a sensible guy..I can't stand all the men that want to be odiferous and make me sneeze:(
Faye said…
Bag balm is tried and true--whether you had sore teats, cracked heels or hands. For stomach upsets we had to take Black Draught and sore muscles got treated with liniment (horses too). The old medicine cabinet was a lot simpler back in the day, wasn't it?
grammy said…
did it work???
so curious (o:
that sounds awful... the end of your nose down to your lip...ouch. I don't ever get them.
Good memories (o:
Coffeypot said…
We treated all cuts and scrapes with Mecuricome. It's a wonder we didn't all die of mercury poisoning.
Karmyn R said…
I use bag balm whenever my heels get a bit ugly looking!
Nezzy said…
Oh girl, I have a tin of it in my make~up drawer. I use the stuff all the time. Works wonders!!!!

God bless and have an amazin' day!!! place :o)
Georgia Girls said…
Will you accept our invitation to join us for Fun Monday in March? The topics are listed on the top sidebar. We'd love to have ya!
My grandpa swore by Bag Balm...and I think it rubbed off on me as we have a tin of it in our bathroom!
Intense Guy said…
Funny how we can have such vivid memories when we smell things. Whenever I smell mothballs I am instantly transported to my Father's mother's house - upstairs in the guest bedroom closet she had a hanger thing that held mothballs - and it scented the closet and a good part of the bedroom. I spent many a happy hour in that house - and many of them upstairs.
Hayden said…
Campho Phenique- big remedy in my household when I was growing up.

Didn't learn about Bag-Balm until I'd migrated to San Francisco, and then from a farm-girl fellow migrant who swore by it. She was right - amazing stuff. She used to get us each a big tin of it when she went home and could get to 'a farm store.'

I'd forgotten about it - with the condition of my hands this winter, I shouldn't have, so thanks for the reminder.

now tell us! Did it help?

Popular posts from this blog

Sing in Spring

An Old Cold Spot

Earth Friendly