Handkerchiefs and Bandannas

Being a native Houstonian, I am well familiar with “Houston sinus”. We have a selection of the world’s nastiest and cheapest, most pollen producing landscaping plants around… and they all have their season. You name it: wax leaf ligustrum, crepe myrtle, red leaf photinia, ragweed, goldenrod, etc.  You will know when the oak or pine trees are blooming because you will see yellow dust all over everything. People will be sneezing. Add to that the typical seasonal colds and flu and you’ve really got something.

The thing I noticed and questioned was the use of Kleenex.  The reason people use these paper tissues is presumably to be more hygienic. They can’t be all that effective if they aren’t big or thick enough to contain a sneeze, and what if people don’t throw them out with each sneeze? How many trees are they destroying because of that?  Toilet paper is a good stop-gap for a dribbly nose, but hardly effective. 

How did people handle this in the past?  Handkerchiefs and bandannas.  Those innocuous squares of fabric you see gentlemen using in the old movies, or you see cowboys using in a bazillion ways in any western film. My grandmother had smaller, more decorative ones. My dad the chiropractor ALWAYS carried a handkerchief, and he would toss it into the laundry and pulled a fresh one out of the drawer to start the day with.  They are the very epitome of sustainable “green” technology. 

So I started carrying them in place of Kleenex. I have one of each in my bug-out-bag. I keep a spare handkerchief in my purse in case I happen to saturate the one in my pocket.  This past Christmas when I saw my younger sister using a printed paper napkin (ouch) to honk into, I gave her my spare hankie.  After my Doctor of Oriental Medicine saw me produce one from my pocket, she told me that it was the very best because they use all sorts of really nasty chemicals to bleach and sanitize the paper they recycle to make paper tissues, adding another layer of irritants. 

A standard fully washed and broken-in bandanna is about 21″ square, while a handkerchief is about 17″ square.  There’s your difference. Either should be 100% cotton.  Linen is more expensive, but tends to be rougher on the nose.

Uses for the handkerchief or Bandanna.  Blowing one’s nose.  Cough into to avoid spraying germs on others.  Coming to the aid of a weeping lady.   Wipe lipstick (or anything else) off your face.  Clean your glasses.  Surrendering.  Wave to get someone’s attention.  Making a (small) tourniquet.  Cleaning up a spill.  Reducing one’s carbon nose-print.  Disposing of semi-masticated  food morsels discreetly.   Robbing banks.   Being a dandy.  Fainting.  Covering sneezes and coughs.   Wiping one’s brow.   Signaling erotic preference.   Using as a napkin while traveling.   Use as a hand towel, or in lieu of toilet paper, in an understocked public bathroom.   Making a Molotov cocktail.   Blindfolding a man condemned to die by firing squad.  Tying one’s belongings to a stick before running away from home as a child.  Opening a door while working as a private detective.  Use to avoid leaving fingerprints.  Rendering someone unconscious with ether.  Waterboarding.  Performing magic tricks.  Signifying gang membership.  Killing insects.  Tie corners together to make a small bag. Cleaning shoes before a business meeting.  Opening jars and bottles.  Using as a rag.  Cover your mouth/nose against dust. Use as a water filter to remove sediment or bugs from stream water.  Use as a bracelet, a necklace, a headband, a hat or any other imaginable accessory.  Creating plot devices.  Wipe sweat from your hard-working brow. It can even be weaponized.

This is by no means a complete list. the more one searches the web, the more ideas one may come up with many, many more applications.
http://www.alpharubicon.com/prepinfo/bandanarollinghitch.htm
http://survivalcache.com/30-uses-for-a-bandana/ 
http://www.trailwatch.net/northrim/bandanas.html
http://www.journeywoman.com/travel101/bandana.html

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Rev. Suzanne Powell manufactures and markets a full line of line of natural stone “medicine jewelry”, subtle energy tools, pendulums, angel and fairy art and “spiritual soap” through her website, http://www.turtleisland.cc

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