Long before our country became hostage to “fake news” and the fear it nurtures, my mama warned me of quite a number of dangers that lurked somewhere in the midst between Truth and Legend.
I grew up to be vigilant because almost every hazard she warned me about, regardless of how unlikely it seemed, turned out to have actually happened to somebody somewhere — usually “up north.”
One of the stories that made a lasting impression involved the “Beehive” hairdo that was popular in the early 1960s. For a while, women did an awful lot of “ratting” of their hair and damage to the ozone layer with hairspray in an effort to preserve their elaborate coiffures. During that time, Mama either “read in the paper” or “heard on the news” that a lady found cockroaches nesting in her beehive. Needless to say, I have avoided “fixed hair” my whole life, and especially styles that might require lacquer.
There were stories of rattlesnakes curled up in collard greens, water hoses, and bales of pine straw. And there was always the threat of lightning even if there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. “Lightning can strike from 15 miles away,” Mama warned. Such strikes, it turns out, have names, “Bolts from the Blue.”
Somehow I dodged glass in baby food, poison in Halloween candy, and needles in canned drinks, but I consider myself a decorated veteran of sensational news stories, as well as cautionary tales. I don’t discount what I read in the news, but I do use discernment and make an effort to evaluate the source from which a story came.
Marian Carcache welcomes
comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.