Milkweed, Potatoes, and Faith

Mom-Me-ZooLooking through my window this morning, I saw the milkweed plant growing in the corner of the garden. This brought a pleasant memory of my mom.

When I was young, none of my friends would hold my hand because I was inflicted with ugly warts. My mother would read in magazines about treatments and she was game to try them all. I was so desperate to be rid of them, I would go along with blind faith they would work.


The first “cure” I remember was to cut a potato in half and rub the moisture onto the warts, then bury the potato at midnight. In so many days, or when the potato rotted, I don’t remember which, the warts would disappear. I’m not sure how many potatoes were wasted in attempting this, but definitely more than one. No luck.


The next one was to cut milkweed and rub the “milk” onto the warts. The worst part was sitting still long enough for the moisture to dry. I never thought about my mom having to walk through a menagerie of weeds to find a milkweed plant. I know we tried this more than once, too. Don’t bother, it doesn’t work either.


The last one we tried was for her to circle each wart thirty times counting out loud. Then I would pray and believe they would go away. Oh, I believed with all my young heart that my mother’s touch would bring a miracle. After the first 60 days and two attempts, the warts actually began to shrink! My mother never forgot to go through the ritual every 30 days. Yes, my warts did go away completely.

Seeing that milkweed plant reminded me of how much my mother loved me. Yes, she actually buried those potatoes at midnight. My dad worked nights on the railroad, so he wasn’t available to do the digging. She searched until she found milkweed plants. And she circled each wart, and there were quite a few, thirty times every thirty days. I have no idea how many magazines or newspaper articles she scoured to find a cure for the one thing that made me feel different and an outcast from my classmates who refused to hold my hand when we played games like, “Red Rover.”

I’m thanking God today for giving me warm memories of “those good old days!”



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