Jack McCall

My mother was an extraordinary person. I suppose any son who was fortunate enough to have a loving, nurturing mother would consider his mother to be exceptional. Mine was blessed with a sharp mind along with loads of common sense — a rare combination.

Mother gave deep study to three books, The Holy Bible, a large medical encyclopedia, and “A History of Smith County.” First was The Holy Bible. She had several, but her “marked” Bible was one of her most prized possessions. It was a “working” Bible, and she worked it. Its margins were filled with notes jotted down through the years. Mother declared the answer to every problem and every situation could be found somewhere in the Bible.

Her second-favorite book was the medical encyclopedia. She devoured it. Many friends and family members affectionately referred to her as “Dr. McCall.” She was familiar with more home remedies than you could imagine. And she had a nose for the cause of aches and pains.

Mother was a strong believer in preventative medicine, and she was always proactive when it came to heading off an ailment. When my brothers, my sister and I were growing up she relied on two prescribed medicines. One was called “Sulfose,” a member of the sulfonamide family. It was light brown in color and bitter to the taste. At the first sign of a cough or cold we got a dose.

The other prescribed drug she relied on was cocoa-quinine. It had cocoa in it so you could get down the quinine. When you got a dose of that stuff you wanted to get better — fast!

Mother was oft to say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

I have often wondered what her take would have been on the COVID-19 pandemic had she been alive. I can tell you she would not have taken everything Dr. Anthony Fauci has said, “hook, line and sinker.” She would have investigated what practicing physicians were saying out in the field — or what they were finding out in the trenches.

A month or so back, my wife, Kathy, found herself standing in line at a retail establishment in Pigeon Forge. The woman standing next to her, a nurse, casually opened up a conversation regarding COVID-19. She was very knowledgeable regarding the virus as she had been on the front lines for months. She insisted on loading specific information on my wife’s phone. The nurse stressed the fact that a strong, healthy immune system was the best defense against the virus. She recommended high levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin D-3, and zinc to boost one’s immune system. Then she shared the “fact” that the virus is inhibited by O-positive blood type. (I checked to see and found 37% of the population has O-positive blood type.) The RN ended the conversation by saying, “These are things they are not telling us.” Interesting!

My mother would have been all over that information. She always insisted the human body has a marvelous ability to heal itself because we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

My mother cut our teeth on this saying (it was one of her favorites): “Every situation can make you or it can break you.” I have lived to find those words to be true. Prosperity can make you or it can break you. It is easy for one’s purchasing power to exceed one’s better judgment. Hard times can make you or break you. When disappointments, heartache and even broken dreams come our way we have a choice. We can become bitter or we can get better. “Every situation can make you or it can break you.”

Whenever my mother observed someone suffering the consequences of making bad decisions, she would declare, “That man drove his ducks to a bad watering hole.”

And regarding the recent presidential election and the cloud of suspicion that still hovers over it, and the goings-on around the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. last week, my mother would have said, “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.”

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