It’s still a bit damp outside so I am working from my bedroom this morning before getting ready for the park and a park members’ meeting immediately after my shift.
This morning, there was a cartoon on Facebook that reminded me of two separate events involving alum. Alum, a white granular substance, has a range of topical uses, including as antiperspirant deodorant, and also features as an ingredient in certain products, such as styptic pencils, which help seal cuts from shaving. It is found in the spice area in the baking aisle.
I learned that if you put a teaspoon of alum in a sealed sandwich baggie and place it in your pants pocket, it will help prevent chafing, especially at the beach.
KING’S ISLAND (amusement park)
When my third son’s 8th-grade class went to King’s Island, I was a chaperone, and knowing it would be raining and hot, even for mid-May, I placed a baggie with alum in my shorts pocket. Naturally, at security, I was asked to go through a more extensive search which always seems to be my lot when in security. I emptied my pockets into the container and heard a beeping sound. Within seconds, the security station where I stood had a number of security guards immediately appear and began examining the contents of the baggie. Ugh!
I was pounded with questions before an officer reached inside to examine the white granular contents.
“It must be what he says it is because it doesn’t have the same texture,” said the security officer.
I placed the contents back in my pocket and moved on into the park with the other chaperones and students.
CAPE HATTERAS BEACH, THE OUTER BANKS
The sons and I always placed a baggie of alum in our swimming trunks at the beaches we visited. I always loved riding the waves on the boogie board and spent more time in the water than I ever did sitting on the beach reading, despite bringing a healthy library for reading material lest I get bored.
One afternoon while riding the waves, I noticed a nearby group of high school or college-age students standing in a circle examining something. I moved in their direction to see what piqued their interest.
In the middle of the circle was a baggie with a white substance, floating in the water. I found it odd that someone had tossed a baggie of cocaine in the water… I reached inside my pocket and discovered it was empty.
My sons and I heard one of the boys ask, “Anyone wanna try it out with me?”
We moved away from the group and enjoyed a good laugh.
THE ALUM CONTAINER
I had one incredibly gifted, talented, and witty student, John, who was with me when Bailey and Harrigan were still in the puppy stage. One day, just before his lesson, I hurried home from teaching next door and discovered The Sisters had played with a can of alum that had fallen off the side shelf next to the stove. The container had opened and there was a long line of white powder going through the middle of my study.
Before I could clean it up, John entered for his lesson and looked down at the white powdery line. He looked up with a crooked smile and asked, “Shouldn’t you use a table or something so you don’t get fuzz or dog hair up your nose?”
And with that, I encourage you to make it a great day! I am!