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When grandmother Amanda Jane Meadows Cook was getting older and more feeble, I would ask her how she was doing when I got home on leave. She would say she couldn't eat at lunch time. My mother told me why. A typical breakfast for her consisted of two eggs, a piece of ham, two pieces of toast and a large bowl of oatmeal plus something like applesauce or fruit and milk. I think that might have been the reason she could not eat lunch. Marines do not normally have a breakfast that large.

I would ask her what she needed and she would reply that she needed some hose. I would get the particulars of size, color, etc. and tell my mother I  was going to go buy grandmother some hose. Mother would shake her head and take me to grandmother's closet and show me a stack of brand new hose still in the box that was about eighteen inches tall.

Another thing that grandmother liked was canned strawberries. In these times of frozen foods and fresh fruits at about any time of the year, this is a rare commodity.

Both my father and I searched many stores many times and occasionally would find some for her.

She was always fond of Milky Way candy bars and horehound drops. She always had an ample supply but had to be monitored to see that she did not overdo. I was always in fear that she would offer me one of her horehound drops. Now being a good Baptist, she could not go along with taking alcohol, a little each day, like her doctor recommended. Grandson, Tom, to the rescue. I went to the local ABC store and purchased a bottle of mint gin. I found a small bottle, about six ounces, poured it full of this pretty light green liquid and labeled it "nerve tonic" and that she should take a tablespoonful when she was feeling bad.  About a week later, she told me that nerve tonic was the best medicine she had ever had and would I get her some more. Which I did from time to time. Hated to deceive that sweet little lady, but it was for her own good.

Later she gave in to the doctor's wish that she take a tablespoon of whiskey several times a day. My father, Roy L. Cook brought a bottle of Wild Turkey, which happens to be one of the better ones and is quite expensive. After a few times, he figured whiskey is whiskey and bought a cheaper blend. By this time, grandmother had become a connoisseur and it would not do. Dad went back to buying Wild Turkey.

Musings of Henry T. Cook, Lt. Col., USMC (Ret.)