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.


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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Scaling Down Christmas

Christmas is generally something of a nightmare for me. First of all, everyone in my family has everything. On top of that, my siblings’ kids are grown and married and have replicated, making it even tougher to keep up with the crowd.  I have to keep a scratch-off list in an effort to keep up with everyone.  I can’t keep up with color preference or birthdays, or even personality.

Christmas has come down to swapping more tchotchkes that we’ll eventually re-gift some other time. I finally got to where I just want to give something small and useful, or failing that, something that is pretty that will be appreciated. 

This year, for the girls on my list, I stopped off at one of my jewelry wholesale dealers and purchased a wide variety of pearlized mother-of-pearl bracelets with the beads strung in two rows on stretchy cord… suitable for the office and still something I can amp up with spiritual energy. Mother-of-pearl is great for its “shell energy”, meaning that it is stealth energy that will keep you from getting noticed. I put the entire pile onto a Harmony Board to clear them, and then amped them up with angelic energy.  When it came time to package these bracelets, I tuned in and dowsed for each recipient as to who got which one. When it came time to open the gifts, the bracelets matched what each lady/girl was wearing perfectly. The good thing is that these girls/ladies are not as likely to be predated upon as they go about their normal activities, as they won’t be as readily noticed.

What I gave the men… I found socks on sale.  I got the big bulk bundle of athletic socks from Sam’s Club, and then I purchased a range of dress socks in different colors. Each adult male on the list got one pair of dress socks and one pair of athletic socks.  I spent about $6 on each male.  The two youngest boys got a shark-tooth necklace from my wholesale jewelry suppliers, who thought them terrible tough-looking. These aren’t things that will be tossed out or regifted. At the very least they’ll find themselves at the back of the sock drawer to surface when needed.

For next year I am considering a selection of inexpensive survival type supplies. How about a small kit with things like a mylar solar blanket, waterproof matches/other firemaking tool, compass, lanyard, whistle, bandanna, alcohol wipes and some bandaids? Maybe some little packets of Tylenol, hand sanitizer or little bottle of soap? How about an emergency lightstick or maybe an inexpensive multi-tool?  I could probably pick up some little shaving kit type containers at one of the wholesale places on Harwin.  Yeah… that might be a cool idea.


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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