I have friends who aren’t sure, exactly, if they’ve ever seen a cold sore. This amazes me, as I’m pretty sure that everyone in my family – and we’re counting the cousins as well – is a carrier.
“We’re not even a huggy, kissy family,” I explain to friends. "I mean, babies, yeah. Babies are open game. We kiss the dickens out of babies."
“Huh,” they say, looking for an exit.
“Seriously,” I say. “I can’t remember ever kissing my parents on the lips.”
This is usually met with some sort of blank stare and then a broad grin. We are, after all, Midwesterners.
Kissing on the lips is meant for your wedding night.
I point out, of course, that the cold sore is caused by a virus, that nothing will get rid of it, that it’s not something I picked up whilst working as a carnie, nor was it part of a two-for-one deal with any other crusty-sored display of dubious affections.
This is met with exactly the kind of response one expects amongst the smart-aleck set.
And so it was Easter this last Sunday. There was ham, there was asparagus, there was a lemon pound cake that I begged my mother for. And there were stories.
My mother is holding a bottle of water. The ham was particularly salty, and we are all swollen as ticks.
She regards the bottle. “Isn’t it funny? Bottled water?” She takes a drink. “You know, there was 14 of us kids growing up. Mom would keep this big pail of water in the kitchen, and when you wanted a drink, why, there was a big ladle in there. You’d go in, grab that ladle and drink as much as you could.” She shakes her head, amused. “Bottled water,” she says.
And there’s another mystery solved.
Why does the family have cold sores?
Well ladle me tell you a story…