Monday, December 21, 2015

Nothing to Sneeze about

            I woke this morning with a stuffy head and sneezing. It reminded me of my grandfather Raymond Miner and his distinctive sneeze. The sound of his sneezing was almost as quiet as he was, but it would sound like he said “Er-rassole.”  My brother and I were always amused hearing him. I can’t remember my grandmother sneezing, but I guess it is the unusual ones that we remembered.
            Sybil, my mom’s wasn’t unusual, but she tried to stifle it and would sneeze into the cleavage of the blouse or dress that she was wearing.  I guess that I sneeze much the same way, only I sneeze into my elbow bend or into my shirt front. Some people have told me that stifling a sneeze is dangerous and that I could collapse a lung. I tell them, when I feel a sneeze coming on, I push all of the breath out of my lungs, so there is nothing for the sneeze to force out.
            I am a three sneeze person. Each time that the urge hits me, I know that the first one will be followed by two more. Most people I know sneeze twice. A rare person will sneeze once. My granddad Miner was a solo sneezer, but memorable because of the sound.
            Walking hand in hand with sneezing are those who blow their nose. Some just give a soft zephyr sound while a few others would put the angel Gabriel to shame. My uncle Dale was a person who would pull out his dark blue, work handkerchief and honk loudly into it.
            I’ve know ladies who have carried lace edged or embroidered, dainty-looking handkerchiefs. They were scented and were used to ward off offensive odors by daubing at their noses. Their kerchiefs were pulled from pockets, purses, or from the edge of a long sleeve and put into service. Much of that has gone the way of the Dodo and today they are replaced by boring white Kleenex or other brand names. The manufacturers market the tissues in “designer” boxes, but once they are pulled out, they are just softer, plain pieces of paper; toilet tissue on a “more refined” level. Once these tissues are used, they're tossed into the garbage or wadded into a ball and stuck into a pocket, to later shred in the washing machine. No longer are our handkerchiefs treasured, washed, ironed, and used when we sneeze. No longer are these lovely items passed from one generation to the next as memories of our passed loved ones.

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