Monday, May 29, 2017

Honoring David

 Every Memorial Day I honor a young man I've never met,

 David Rohrer died on November 21, 1862 in Nashville. He lived in Johnsville (a community no longer in existence just west of New Lebanon and just a few miles north of Farmersville). David didn't die of battle injuries but rather of disease, common during the war.

 I researched him during my years writing for the Dayton Daily News. I was actually attracted to the tombstone first. The text thereon led me to the man.

 I have since that time (probably about 2000) placed a flag on his grave each Memorial Day.

 While researching David's story, I met a living relative who had a bundle of his letters sent home from the war. I placed scans of them on the net and they can be read here.

 David was the son of Simon and Harriet Rohrer. A brother near in age is buried beside him at the U.B. Church in Farmersville. His grave, being west of the church, is one of only a handful that escaped being buried beneath a parking lot behind the church.

 Not too many years after David's death his mother followed him to the grave under mysterious circumstances. The family had one tragedy after another, beginning with David's death.

 Today, 155 years after David's death, we still remember him. And I will as long as I live.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Memorial Day Cookout

 It's becoming a tradition already ... a Memorial Day cookout. But we celebrate on the Saturday before because Tom always has to work the actual holiday.

 I supplied veggie burgers (Morningstar Grillers). Mom made baked beans. Tom brought corn on the cob, veggie kabobs and a whole watermelon. I also bought a coconut cream pie just in case we were still hungry for dessert ( we were).

 Like a previous year when a huge storm came up, we set the grill up just outside the barn door. We figured we could pull it back a foot or two if it rained (it sprinkled a few times but nothing more). The grill hadn't been used in a year but it fired right up. When this picture was taken I had already grilled the veggie burgers and Tom was working on the corn and kabobs.

 Our procedure was to cook an item or two and then take it inside to eat. Mom's was "starving" by noon so I knew we had to get food to her while she was still conscious.

 As in past years, Tom brought the melon, a sweet, seedless, round one from Kroger's. Tom prefers melons with seeds but I thought this one was perfect. He uses an item with stainless steel blades to cut the entire melon in one stroke. Turns out, though, that an end needs to be cut off first.

 Flattening the end (just one though the melon would have separated better if both ends had been removed) allows the tool to work smoothly. It still takes quite a bit of pressure, though.

 Tom used our concrete bench as a cutting table. This tool takes one press to divide the melon into twelve perfect slices.

 The tool also creates one center tube. Perfect!

 How does that look? Time to dig in ...

 The weather was partly to mostly cloudy this year, though warm (82°) and calm. Only a few sprinkles passed overhead while we ate.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Trying Mederma

 So, does Mederma work? That was a question I've had since I first began seeing the ads. A "scar cream"? It sounded like a bit of a stretch to me. But I had no scars (that I'll tell you about ... and that one isn't new anyway).

 But come last October, I was shaving (with a safety razor) between my eyebrows and later felt as though I had abraded the skin. Innocent enough stuff. What guy doesn't get nicks, cuts and razor burns? I didn't think anything of it until it got progressively worse. Soon enough the skin was raw and oozing and my nose and eyes were swollen. Clearly this had developed into a serious infection.

October 13 (2016)

 Before you get too grossed out, that's the worst you'll see. If I could stand that hot spot on my face, you can handle a glance.

 So, to the doctor I went. The nurse practitioner prescribed an oral antibiotic but no topical cream/ I began taking it as once and soon, within a couple of days, the redness began to fade. Trouble was, the infection certainly chewed quite a pit into the skin and left a fairly deep pock mark.

 That's when I thought of Mederma. I ordered a small tube (0.70 ounces) which I figured would not be enough to go very far. But when I stopped applying it three time per day (7 am, 2 pm, 9 pm) I still had at least a third of the tube left. Of course this was a small scar.

 Thus begun a seven month experiment with the scar cream ...

November 20 

December 20 

January 20 (2017) 

February 20 

March 20 

April 20 

May 20

 OK, if you haven't been creeped out yet, here's some information that might be valuable to you if you have a scar you like to get rid of. First, I didn't find that the scar cream 100% effective in removing the scar. It's still clearly visible and I was very careful about following a strict schedule of applying it. But I have no doubt that the scar is reduced in visibility.

 Without a control, there's really no way of knowing how an untreated scar would look after seven months. Maybe the same? Had I had two scars between my eyes - one on the left, one of the right - and treated only one, this would have been a fair test.

 But I'm reasonably happy with the results, whether the credit goes mainly to my body's healing ability or to Mederma. If I remember, I'll stop back at some time in the future and let you see whether the mark continues to fade.

Friday, May 5, 2017


 When I was a young child and Dad and I visited my Aunt Belle in Miamisburg, I'd often ask him to get out "The Shocker". It was actually a quack medical device purchased by my Uncle George who had died a few years earlier in 1947.

 The Electreat was fired up by pulling a slide down and gently tapping the device. An internal vibrator (presumably designed to convert the two D cell batteries DC current to AC) would start and the unit would begun buzzing menacingly. Both my Dad and my aunt could handle it without being bothered by the shock but I would always recoil in horror.

 I'd touch it (you had to hold the metal case in one hand and then touch the roller on the top to complete the circuit and get a shock) but that was about as far as I'd go. Once we three held hands and had the current pass through all of our bodies. As "safe" as the device is supposed to be, it reminded me of sticking my finger into a light socket.

 As you can see, the device was patented (by Charles Willie Kent) in 1919. My guess is that my uncle bought it in the 1920's.

 What brought this up was an article I just read ("Harnessing Ethereal Fire") in the Jan/Feb issue of Early American Life. Mom and I both read the story and we both thought of Uncle George's Electreat. "Where is that thing?" I asked Mom. She said she thought it was in her bedroom. We found it lying (dusty) on the top shelf of her bookcase.

 "For nearly two millennia medical practitioners have used electricity to treat patients, often little bothered by not knowing how, why or if it worked," states the article.

 I see these for sale on eBay for very little so the few that still have them seem even happier to get rid of them. For me, it's a connection to my uncle and my own childhood. But it isn't something I'm ever going to use.

 For those interested, here's the entire manual, scanned a page at a time. Click on any page for a higher-resolution version that's easier to read. And smile along with me ...

 Shocking, isn't it?