Blue Badge of Courage...or Stupidity

Posted by HB Sunday, January 3, 2010



After high school and one year of college, I went to live in Chile for two years on an ecclesiastical errand (That's code for a Mormon mission). Great country, great people and great memories...I think. I never took a camera and while there I never took any notes or wrote anything down. Forty years later, it was the dumbest thing I never did.
I still get occasional flashes of faces and events, but don't have any documentation that allows me to put names and places to those faces and events. I am not yet too senile to remember that I was in Santiago for almost a year, Vina del Mar for six months and Temuco for five months. I lived in a couple of other areas, and thankfully, I did forget those places.
I do have one memory that has remained vivid in my mind. I have the documentation in my drawer. It is a 40-year old sock. I have posted pictures of the actual sock and two other items that are salient to the story I am about to tell.
I bought the sock while purchasing luggage and clothing before leaving for Chile. The luggage and the rest of the items are long gone. They never made the return trip with me back to the U.S. I continued wearing those socks until about 10 years ago when my wife threw them away. I was able to salvage one before the trash man came. It is my lone revered recuerdo of Chile.
It's time for the sock story. We had a paseo (recreational activity) at the beach for a few hours. It was sanctioned and it was sunny. I remember rolling up my pants to walk on the sand and then sought out one of the big rocks on the beach for a little siesta in the shade.
When I woke up, the shade was gone and my ankles were severely sunburned. We returned home and it was business as usual until the next day. While sitting in another person's home, I looked down and saw my now famous socks. They looked and felt like blue balloons.
No big deal. It didn't hurt. When we arrived home later that night, I took off the socks and got ready for bed. I found a needle and popped the blisters. Still no pain, until the next morning when I awoke with my ankles stuck to the sheets. Separating the sheets and ankles was painful.
I'm no doctor, and there were no Holiday Inns in Chile, so I did the next best thing. I wrapped my ankles with toilet paper, put on my socks and shoes and hit the pavement for our daily rounds. When we arrived home that night, my socks were dry, but the toilet paper was stuck to my ankles.
We had no shower or tub. We did have a sink and a water closet. I wasn't flexible enough to stick my feet in the sink, so I just stuck them in the WC, gently shaking them for a few seconds until the paper dissolved. I rewrapped them before going to bed and then did the same procedure again the next morning and evening. This routine went on for a few days until the blisters dried up and I no longer had need of the WC and TP.
I look at my sock now and view it as my blue badge of courage. My wife calls it my blue badge of luck and lack of hygiene.

1 Responses to Blue Badge of Courage...or Stupidity

  1. I remember stopping off on my way home..we went up some mountain to a statue and overlooked Santiago and the race track..what memories

     

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I'm an apprentice senior citizen who can't wait for my old-man discounts to kick in. At one time, HB stood for Healthy Baby, Hunky Body, Happy Bridegroom, HouseBroken and Half-Baked. My current HB status is Has-Been. A few more Happy Birthdays and Hardly Breathing can't be too far away. Then, hopefully it will be Heaven Bound. I will keep you posted.

Hefty Baby..................Healthy Boy

Hefty Baby..................Healthy Boy

Happy Bridegroom...Hare-Brained

Happy Bridegroom...Hare-Brained

Housebroken...........Has Been

Housebroken...........Has Been

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