I live in a suburb of New Orleans and have been writing here off and on for 10 years. I have been married 53 years to the same crazy guy.
It Will Cure Anything?
I first met my father-in-law, later to become Grandpa to everyone in our family, when I was 19 years old. I was dating my husband and we went to college in a small town a few miles from where Grandpa lived. I remember the first time I walked into his well-ordered, immaculate house, wondering who does all this cleaning! My own father never lifted a finger to clean anything. He had no problem hiring people to help my mom with the housework since she was a working woman, but he certainly never did any of it.
My father-in-law was a retired policeman. Only my husband rivals him as a cook. I remember many times driving over from our college for a dinner of pot roast, black-eyed peas (from his garden), mashed potatoes, lime pickles (made by Grandpa with cucumbers grown by him), and sliced tomatoes. I ate some of the best meals of my life in his little pine-paneled kitchen at a table covered with a red and white checkered tablecloth. I also went from a size 7 to a size 9.
Grandpa loved cooking, canning, hunting, fishing, you name it. He was a well-rounded man of many talents, not the least of which was his knowledge of the correct medicines to use for specific ailments. I remember once when we were camping at Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, I got terribly blistered. It was extremely painful and I looked like a lobster. Grandpa said, "Get that bottle of Tichenor's and rub it all over that sunburn." I had never heard of Tichenor's. Grandpa never called it Dr. Tichenor's, simply Tichenor's. Well, I took some cotton balls and did as he said. Immediately, I felt relief from the burning. I reapplied it periodically, and by bedtime, the pain was almost gone. I thanked Grandpa for his advice and his words were, "There's two things that will cure everything. Tichenor's is one of them." I was just so glad to be rid of my stinging and burning sensations I didn't even ask what the other medicine was.
Let me say right here that I have no affiliation whatsoever with Dr. Tichenor's or with BFI Powder, the two medicines that will cure anything. I was a reluctant believer, but believer I did become in both of them. My children were born only one year apart. They got every rash, mosquito bite, sting -- you name it -- known to man. Every time something itched, Grandpa would send me for the BFI powder. At first, I was reluctant to fall in line and said I'd just use the antibiotic salve I was already using. Of course, it didn't work, and by the time I had listened to a whining two- or three-year-old for an hour or two, I gave in, washed the salve off and put on BFI Powder. Voila. Immediate success. No more itch.
BFI Powder, Dr. Tichenor's
I have read the ingredients in BFI Power over and over. I have never identified the magic bullet, but the stuff works. As reluctant as I was to become a believer at the beginning, Grandpa got a huge kick out of the fact that when I couldn't find BFI Power in any of our local stores back in the '80s, I called The Medicine Shop and had them special order it. I used that container, one more and have started on a third one I special ordered. It seems to last forever, even though we use it often.
Although Grandpa lived with us for seven years, we always left the house in Arkansas as though he still lived there with all his things still in place. He went hunting with my husband at the deer camp they had both belonged to for years, which was close to his house, and he often stayed at his house rather than the deer camp. Long after he died, we decided to rent the house and finally had to clear everything out. I remember finding a container of BFI Powder in the bathroom cabinet and it brought me to tears more than any photo or anything else could have because it was so much a part of my memories of him. It reminded me of the many times I'd heard him say, "Go get the BFI Powder."
When he was in a nursing home the last two months of his life, he was convinced that BFI Powder would cure his decubitus ulcers. Because I knew it would give him comfort, I snuck some into the nursing home in my purse one day and dressed the bedsore on his back with it. I could see no difference after a few days, but he thought it helped and I'm glad I did it.
The whole experience with both medicines reminds me so much of how reluctant young people are to listen to those older and with more experience. It's just a natural stubbornness that comes with youth, I think, and I was the world's worst. I can remember the cloth diapers we used back then. I would always pour copious quantities of bleach in the diaper pail to cut down on the odor. The diapers began to rip and disintegrate. Grandpa told me it was the bleach that was causing it but I continued to use large amounts of it until I read somewhere in a homemaker's magazine that too much bleach will cause the fabric in diapers to rip. I could accept that but not advice from someone I loved and trusted. Why? I think there's a built-in desire in a young people to learn things the hard way, have their own experiences and not settle for someone else's.
My children are in their 40s now, but I still keep a container of BFI Power and a bottle of Ticheor's around for my husband and me. I doubt the grandchildren would let me come near them with either one.
Grandpa was a huge part of our lives. He told my children from the time they could understand and all through their lives that they could do anything they made up their minds to do. I know he said that to them at least once a day. He told them to be honest and always do the right thing. He saw them both graduate from college, an education he funded, but he had left the planet and missed the master's degree for one and PhD for the other. Yet the thing that I remember so vividly for some reason is packing to go to Grand Isle for the weekend when he visited us in New Orleans and him saying, "Be sure and pack a bottle of Tichenor's and some BFI Powder."
My neighbor's little nephew was staying with him for the day not long ago. He began crying and complaining about something on his tummy. I walked over to take a look. It was a heat rash. He had on a once-piece play suit and had probably gotten too hot. The rash looked hot and itchy. I asked if I could put some BFI Powder on it. Of course, the answer,"If you think it will make him quit whining." I spread it across his tummy and he giggled and patted his stomach, saying "power." He is only two and couldn't pronounce powder. He stopped crying and went back to playing. I ran home and flopped on the bed where my husband was reading a book, told him the story and we both laughed our heads off.
No matter what Joe and I scrape, what rash we have, what insect stings us, we always laughingly say, "Get the BFI Powder."
It's a family tradition!
I Googled BFI Powder as it's been a while since I wrote this. It is now available on Amazon. I have not tried it. I do not know if it has the same ingredients, but it is labeled exactly the same as I remember it.
Here's a simple little recipe I found in Grandpa's loose-leaf binder of recipes.
One box Jiffy corn muffin mix
One 8 oz. can cream style corn
Dump in bowl and mix only until meal is damp. Let stand five minutes. Bake in buttered tins at 400 degrees. YUM!
- Saving Bambi
Last summer, my husband and I were riding our four-wheelers through the woods in Arkansas when he hit a tiny fawn that was lying in the trail. In the span of just a few hours, our hearts were captured by the gorgeous little character and it was very,
- The Camp
My husband began hunting at the deer camp in Strong, Arkansas when he was 8 or 9 years old and still hunts there for at least a month every fall. We make periodic trips to the camp, riding our four-wheelers, fishing, taking walks, battling the snakes
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I have found, since writing this hub, that BFI Powder doesn't seem to be available any longer in the United States.
I have emailed the company and am waiting to hear what's up.
Sue Pratt (author) from New Orleans on December 20, 2012:
Thanks for the comment, Cat. I still miss Grandpa and his wisdom. One of his favorite saying was: There are two sides to every story and sometimes three or four. I'm finding that to be true, the longer I live!
Catherine Tally from Los Angeles on December 19, 2012:
Your Grandpa sounds like a treasure. Lucky you! I always believed that the 2 best things to have in the medicine cabinet were BFI powder and some campho-phenique.